'It had everything', enthuses Wigan Athletic boss after opening-day triumph
Paul Cook breathed a sigh of relief and expressed his complete and utter delight at seeing Wigan Athletic edge Cardiff in a five-goal thriller 'that had everything'.
Latics repeated last season's 3-2 opening-day victory over Sheffield Wednesday with another pulsating triumph, coming from a goal behind to pick up all three points.
After Joe Ralls put Cardiff ahead early on, it didn't look like being Wigan's day when Josh Windass missed a penalty at the beginning of the second half.
But Michael Jacobs benefitted from a deflected Windass free-kick to level the scores on the hour mark, before Windass himself put Latics ahead three minutes later.
Cardiff levelled with 20 minutes remaining through former Latics striker Omar Bogle, who celebrated not just in front of the visiting fans but also the West Stand containing Wigan supporters.
But Latics had the last laugh when Lee Evans curled home a magnificent right-foot strike on 75 minutes to secure all three points.
"It was two teams who were genuinely trying to win a game of football," acknowledged Cook.
"The game had everything - and sometimes as a manager, you count yourselves fortunate when you come out the right side of a game like that.
"There were so many incidents, so many talking points, and to take all three points against such a very strong team is massive for us.
"Like every team, we had a game-plan, and we implemented it very well.
"But Cardiff are a very good team with very good players - and at any point they can change the dynamics of a game.
"Whenever you go a goal down, you'd be happy to take a point.
"To take all three points, you're absolutely delighted.
"If you'd asked me at ten past three last Saturday - when we'd just gone 2-0 down at home against Burnley in our last pre-season friendly, and we couldn't even lift a leg - that we'd win an enthralling game like this first up, I'd have taken it."