Paul Cook admitted Wigan Athletic were indebted to star striker Will Grigg for getting them out of jail and avoiding FA Cup humiliation against non-league Fylde.
The League One leaders looked to be heading out of a competition they famously won in 2013 as they trailed 2-1 at the DW Stadium with only 10 minutes to go.
But two goals in the space of five minutes from Grigg - who’d only appeared off the bench for the last half-hour - spared his side’s blushes.
It also ensured the Wigan fans went home happy, after a small section had again vented their displeasure at falling behind in the second half.
“We’re lucky because we have players of the calibre of Will Grigg to bring on,” acknowledged Cook, who’d made eight changes to his starting XI.
“We made the decision to freshen things up, because the lads worked ever so hard at the weekend against Fleetwood.
“We felt the team was strong enough to win the game, because we desperately wanted to get through the tie.
“Certainly at one stage it looked as though we weren’t going to get through, and I think you have to give Fylde great credit for that as well.
“For them to not even get the game to extra time, they’re entitled to feel really disappointed.”
When asked whether his men had been made to work hard, Cook replied: “I think that is something of an understatement.
“But you have to pat our lads on the back, because with 10 minutes left, we were dead and buried.
“We didn’t look like scoring, we didn’t look like we were capable of creating a chance.
“I agreed with the fans in general - we were passing so negatively, we wouldn’t put passes forward, or quick enough.
“You could have written a book about how bad we were.
“I understand them getting angry and agitated, but it’s so important you stay with your team.
“These lads don’t deserve people to desert them in any way, shape or form.
“To find a way to win the game, does deserve great credit.”
Fylde manager Dave Challinor cut a crestfallen figure in the post-match press conference, but admitted he’d always feared Wigan were capable of mounting a late comeback.
“I don’t think you ever feel you’ve won a game like that,” revealed Challinor, whose side had fallen behind to Ivan Toney’s early goal before hitting the front thanks to Simon Grand and Danny Rowe.
“The last 10 minutes was always going to be the hardest, and it’s a massive pitch here.
“Football can change really, really quickly - especially when you’re up against the quality they possess.
“You do get to a point where you are daring to dream a little bit.
“But you’ve also been in the game long enough to know that another twist in a game can be only just around the corner.
“A third goal would have been great, but we knew we were going to come under pressure at the end.”