Neil Redfearn admitted Alex Mowatt’s goal illuminated an otherwise low-quality game between Leeds United and Wigan that could have gone either way.
Mowatt’s goal five minutes after the restart proved to be the difference, with Wigan dominating the majority of the game but proving unable to provide a piece of magic to break through a determined Leeds rearguard.
Redfearn, who also felt Leeds should have had a first-half penalty when Billy Sharp tangled with Gaetan Bong, has overseen a remarkable turnaround in fortunes since the turn of the year, with Mowatt’s goal keeping them on track for a top-half finish.
“It was a bit of quality and brilliance that was probably not in keeping with the rest of the game,” the Leeds boss said.
“But if anyone was going to win the game, it was going to be us.
“I thought we should have had a blatant penalty in the first half, but we don’t seem to get these decisions.
“I thought we had a resoluteness about us, and a real toughness to get across the line again.
“It’s been a facet of our performances in recent weeks and months, and it was nice to get the points.”
Redfearn was particularly pleased to leave with the three points given the difficult playing surface that he feels will handicap Wigan in their survival fight.
“It was a tough surface to play on - I feel a little bit for Wigan in that respect,” added Redfearn, a former Latics midfielder.
“It must be hard to face the run-in on that kind of surface. It’s shocking.
“I’m not knocking the club or anything - like I say I feel for them.
“When you’re at home, you’ve got to force the running and you’ve got to get after teams with quality football.
“It’s such a difficult surface to play on, it must be tough for them.”
Wigan boss Malky Mackay admitted the defeat - after back-to-back away wins at Blackpool and Norwich - was hard to take.
“I’m just looking at the stats and we’ve had 60 per cent possession and 19 attempts on goal,” Mackay said.
“That should usually mean a victory let alone scrambling to try and get a point from it.
“In the first half I thought it was two teams trying to feel each other out, and we took a blow at the start of the second half.
“Looking at the boy’s pass, it certainly doesn’t go where it was supposed to, it hits Jason Pearce on the back and falls kindly for their lad.
“It’s a terrific finish to be fair to him, but from that moment I thought we had total dominance.
“And to end up with so much of the ball, in their six-yard box, and not be able to put the ball in the net is disappointing.”
It was Wigan’s first home match since Dave Whelan stepped down as chairman and the 78-year-old addressed the stadium before the game to voice his thanks to the fans and ask them to get behind his successor - and grandson - David Sharpe.
“His legacy will always be here,” added Mackay.
“He is a terrific man and someone who will always be Mr Wigan.
“He’s put his heart, soul and finances into the club and it was a fitting tribute to him before the game.”