Shaun Wane was a proud man as his depleted Wigan snatched a dramatic victory to maintain their unbeaten start to the Super League campaign.
Matty Smith struck a drop-goal with less than two minutes to go to secure an exciting 26-25 win at Hull FC.
For a spell it appeared Wigan - missing six frontline stars - were heading for their first league defeat of the year after throwing away a 20-6 lead to trail 24-20.
Josh Charnley’s try and Smith’s drop-goal nudged them back in front.
Marc Sneyd levelled for FC but, in a frenzied finish, Smith struck another one-pointer to secure their fourth straight win of the campaign.
Wane said: “We showed some character and I’m very, very proud of my players. I thought it was an outstanding effort.
“We put ourselves under pressure, but the desire and the guts and the heart they showed, those young kids... I thought was an outstanding effort against a really, really well-coached and athletic team.
“There’s still lots of improvement left in us but the one thing you can’t question is our heart and desire.
“They were really good drop-goals and, I’m happy because that’s a really good Hull side - teams will come here this year and get pumped.”
Wane was already without Micky McIlorum, Willie Isa, Dom Crosby and the Tomkins brothers and lost captain Sean O’Loughlin early yesterday. He wasn’t risked after a cut suffered from training on a 4G pitch was infected, but he should be fit for next Friday’s visit of Leeds.
“We will improve,” added Wane, who has also guided his side to wins against Catalans, Huddersfield and Salford this year.
“Even with the injuries, we were a bit slack at times, and we need to be better.
“I thought if we’d have been a little bit more clinical that wouldn’t have been a one-point ball game - that’s no disrespect to Hull.
“But my players are buzzing. It’s a great dressing room, we sang our song and it’s a good place to be at the moment.”
He praised the efforts from the middles including Ben Flower and Sam Powell, and felt Kiwi centre Anthony Gelling was “outstanding”.
Hull FC coach Lee Radford admitted Wigan’s attack was more clinical, but was proud of his side’s battling qualities.