When Shaun Wane led the final training session yesterday, he didn’t mention ‘must-win’ or ‘dead-rubber’.
The Warriors boss’ focus all week has been on delivering a performance the players can be proud of when they travel to Wakefield this afternoon.
He was stung by their 38-20 loss to Castleford last week - or, more precisely, the manner of it - and has demanded a reaction from his players.
Wane said: “It was a very disappointing performance, we really undersold ourselves.
We played okay for 15 minutes, and that was it.
“The way we started the game was really poor - our goal-line D was really poor, and they took their chances well.
“Cas were great, they can not need any more praise from me than what they get off the media - but they didn’t have much to beat, I’ll be honest.
“Even if we’d have got the game at the end, I’d still not have been happy with the way we started.
“Our attack wasn’t crisp because we did so much defending.
“When you make as many errors as we did, when you get the ball you’re so fatigued from defending so much, your crispness and timing are hard to get.
“I still demand it, because we don’t give in for dropping a ball on the first play. But it’s very hard.
“It’s been a terrible week so far. The lads have trained well, but the meetings have been horrendous.
“But when we’ve had tough weeks, we’ve responded – and that’s what I’m expecting again. We need to go and perform a lot better.”
Their last loss, at Wembley, was followed by one of their most impressive victories of the season - a derby victory at St Helens.
Saints’ win against Salford on Thursday night ended Wakefield’s slim top-four hopes, but Wane has been hugely impressed with Trinity this season and voted for Chris Chester on his form for the Super League coach of the year award.
Wigan and Wakefield have met twice already this year, each winning on the road.
“You’d never under-estimate Chris’ side,” said Wane.
“They don’t have massive star names but they play in a really effective way. They’re a quality team, no question. We won on Easter Monday but I’m not sure we deserved it.
“It’s a tough place to go, there are mental challenges in going to Wakefield, but the pitch is great, it’s a game of rugby league and so we need to focus on the process of winning the game.
“I’ve watched all of their games and they play fantastic rugby, they challenge on every play. They have some really good, under-estimated players in their team.”
While Wigan have endured a turbulent league campaign, Wane presented mitigation - and highlighted some positives - from a year which featured a victory against Cronulla in February and a trip to Wembley last month.
“We’re one of the few teams to play every week, and there are reasons we’re in this position,” he said.
“There would have been a spell of 12 games when they were short turnarounds and we had a lot of players missing. That took some juice out of us.
“It’s not all doom and gloom - we’ve been to Wembley and won a World Club Challenge.
“I don’t like being outside (the play-offs).. but it’s not happened many times over the years.”
Kick-off 3.15pm, Sky.