Paul Cook admitted his Wigan Athletic side earned their latest FA Cup shock against mighty Manchester City for the way they ‘dug in’ against the Premier League champions-elect.
Despite playing with an extra man for the entire second half, after the sending-off of Fabian Delph in first-half stoppage-time for a crude lunge on Max Power, Latics had to soak up wave after wave of City pressure.
Then, with just over 10 minutes remaining, Will Grigg took delivery of a lovely ball from substitute Michael Jacobs, and slid a low shot past Claudio Bravo for the only goal.
“We knew a lot of things had to go right for you on the night against such a quality team,” acknowledged Cook.
“The standard of football they play is at such an elite level.
“Every player handles the ball so comfortably, they work you so hard.
“We had to dig in, we really did, and the lads did that in abundance.
“Some of the blocks we made in the second half, we earned a little bit of luck.
“Griggy became very isolated in that second half, and that’s great credit to Man City.
“It’s so hard to play against, because they wear you down to such an extent and then they hurt you.”
Cook agreed with referee Anthony Taylor’s decision to brandish red - after initially appearing to pull out a yellow card - just before the break.
Players from both sides were involved in handbags, with Cook and opposite number Pep Guardiola making their feelings known to each other both in the technical area and in the tunnel at half-time.
“The sending off’s had a massive influence on the game, of course it has, and we’ve managed to win,” recognised Cook.
“I thought at the time it was a straight red.
“I don’t think Pep and his bench thought it was.
“But that’s football, we’re never going to agree.
“The referee deemed it to be a red card, it is what it is, and we move on.
“This is a great night for Wigan Athletic, and we should all move on and speak about that.
“We had to show great belief to win that game, because we’re a League One team playing against the Premier League champions elect - and we did that.”
Latics - who have now put out three Premier League sides in this season’s FA Cup, with City following in the footsteps of West Ham and Bournemouth - will now host Southampton for a place in the semi-finals at Wembley.
“When the draw was made, we didn’t even send any texts out!” Cook laughed.
“It was like we weren’t even in the competition, and all of a sudden we’re playing Southampton.
“I’m sure Southampton are as shocked as we are, because they were disappointed at having to go to the Etihad!
“We’re a game away from Wembley, and what an occasion that will be for us all.”