Shaun Wane was a satisfied man after seeing the ‘real’ Wigan battle to a 14-10 win at Hull FC.
They trailed 10-8 when Sam Tomkins, in his 200th appearance for the club, struck a penalty to lock the scores and set-up a tense finish.
And then Liam Marshall soared over with six minutes remaining to put the visitors in front - and they clung onto a victory which ended a three-game losing run.
The win helped them tighten second-spot in the Super League table and also blew away the gloom which had descended over the club following defeats at Hull KR, Warrington and Wakefield - in addition to their off-field dramas.
Wane said in the post-match press conference: “We probably spoiled many of your headlines tomorrow.
“We showed some guts and determination and I’m happy with the win. I knew there’d be a bit of disruption (by his decision to depart) and it happened. But we don’t develop softness overnight.
“We’ve just been a bit off, we’ve had a few things going on, we’ve not been able to train (because of a quick turnaround for the Wakefield game) and we’ve not put in Wigan performances.
“I knew what we were about, I know what they can deliver. We showed some decent signs of that.
“I was impressed with Hull - I thought it was a good game.”
Impressively, this was their 10th win in 11 trips to the KCom Stadium since 2010.
Second-placed Wigan now have a four-point buffer on Warrington and Castleford, who both have games tomorrow, with Hull FC a further two points behind.
“Hull are a good team - they’re a bit busted - and it could easily have gone the other way,” said Wane. “But Tom Davies had a try ruled out, I’ve watched it again and it was a definite try, so I think we deserved the win.”
Their spirit was typified by Sean O’Loughlin, who played the full 80-minutes - stopping only for treatment on a dislocated finger - and produced the looping pass for Marshall’s match-winning score.
He and the other England representatives - George Williams and John Bateman - emerged unscathed and will fly to America tomorrow, ahead of next weekend’s Test against New Zealand in Denver.
“At first, Lockers tried to put the (dislocated) finger back in himself, but made a mess of it!” smiled Wane. “He was a big one for us. I thought he was just outstanding.”