Shaun Wane admits he was a “concerned” man in the closing stages as Wigan held on to a nervy - and important - 24-22 win against Castleford.
The Tigers roared back from 20-0 down to score three tries and cut the margin to six points.
But Sam Tomkins returned from a spell on the sidelines - he was suffering from a migraine - to boot a penalty with four minutes to go, before Mitch Clark’s consolation on the hooter.
“I was concerned - no question - but Sam came back on and did a great job,” said Wane.
“We did a lot of good things in the first-half, we were patient with the ball, we defended well, we picked them off - but we got bored of doing it and it nearly cost us.
“In the big-scheme of things, at one point we only had one player on the bench and we were under the pump.
“I’d have liked it to have been a convincing win, sadly it wasn’t.”
It was, though, quite an important win as Wigan tightened their grip on second spot - a position rewarded with a home semi-final - by opening up a three point margin on the chasing pack.
Wane’s successors Adrian Lam and Shaun Edwards watched from the directors’ box as Liam Marshall, Gabe Hamlin, fit-again Ryan Sutton and Dan Sarginson crossed for tries.
Wane praised teenage prop Ollie Partington for his debut.
“He’s aggressive, I’ll be happy to pick him again,” he said, before joking: “He had some fan-club - 60 women screaming when he got the ball!”
Wane, meanwhile, said George Williams was not affected by fresh speculation about his future.
An interview on the NRL’s official site was published on the morning of the game in which the England halfback admitted he wanted to try his hand Down Under.
Wane said: “I had a chat with George today, it’s no distraction. He did the interview quite a while ago and they released it today unfortunately.
“What Ian (Lenagan, chairman) and Kris (Radlinski, executive director) do with George is up to them but he’s strong-willed and that won’t affect him, I thought his performance indicated that.”
Tigers coach Daryl Powell said the penalty which gave Tomkins the late shot at goal was a harsh call but did not seek excuses as he criticised their opening half show.
“Wigan came after us with their usual physicality - no surprise there - and we didn’t handle it at all,” he said. “The first half was unspeakable.
“We came up with a brighter second-half and looked more like us, but that’s the disappointing thing, why does it need that to get a response. The scoreboard looks pretty close but we were way off in the second-half.
“Wigan on the balance were the better side.”