Shaun Wane has backed his players to resurrect their charge for Super League’s top-spot - and make Wigan’s critics eat their words.
The Warriors are three points behind new leaders Warrington with three rounds to go before the play-offs.
A top-two spot would secure the Warriors a home semi-final and, with matches against Hull FC and the Wolves to come, Wane has not given up hope of claiming the league leaders’ shield.
He knows they must make improvements to their performance on Thursday night, but he is keeping their shock 8-6 defeat by Widnes in perspective.
“It’s one game, and we lost by two points to a good side,” he said. “
“We were poor, I won’t get away from that fact, but how people react to that is out of my control.
“The only thing we can control now is going to Hull and putting in a good performance.
“And we’re looking forward to it. We’re motivated and ready to prove some people wrong.”
Finishing in the No.1 spot is out of Wigan’s hands – they could win all their remaining three matches and still come up short.
But Wane has targeted an unbeaten charge through September to put them in the best possible position - starting with Friday’s trip to Challenge Cup winners Hull.
He said: “The players are very motivated. They can’t wait to get stuck into this week.
“We’re looking forward to going there.”
He hopes to welcome back halfback Matty Smith (illness) and prop Dom Crosby (injury) after they missed out last week.
Wane, along with director Winston Higham and doctor Chris Brookes, represented Wigan at the unveiling of the Billy Boston statue in the town centre on Saturday.
“It makes me proud that we’ve done something like this,” added Wane. “It’s a great statue, very life-like.
“Whenever you travel around England or Wales, you mention Wigan and it’s ‘rugby league’ and ‘Billy Boston’, and it’s terrific we’ve got a permanent tribute to someone who has done so much for our town.”