Wigan manager Paul Cook was pleased to finish off a “tough week for everyone” with three precious points thanks to a 2-1 victory over QPR at the DW Stadium.
Latics lost talisman Will Grigg to Sunderland right at the end of the transfer window, which did not go down well with a large section of the fanbase.
But goals from Josh Windass and Leon Clarke – in his first game since returning to the club for a second time – were enough to see off QPR, who responded late through Bright Samuel.
“It’s been a tough week for everyone, to lose a player with the character and stature of Will was hard to take,” Cook admitted.
“It was always going to have a massive effect on everyone – the supporters, the players, the management.
“He came in on Friday morning to say goodbye to everyone and it was a very emotional moment.
“He’s been an absolute hero for this club, and if you’d have told me at 9-10pm on deadline day we were going to lose him, I’d have said not a chance.
“In fact we were working on bringing in another player, as well as Will, but unfortunately we didn’t get that done and then we lose Will because of the money involved.
“I know there’s been criticism of the owners and myself for allowing that to happen.
“But when you win football matches, everyone is suddenly happy again.
“We really needed the three points today, and I’m really delighted for the Wigan Athletic fans that we were able to deliver them.”
QPR boss Steve McClaren was left to reflect on a below-par display at the back, and also injustice that a late handball in the Wigan box was not spotted by referee Scott Duncan.
“I feel hard done by, absolutely,” he said.
“Having said that, you can’t concede two goals like we did and expect to win football matches away from home.
“The defence has been a key reason why we’ve been able to do what we’ve done this season, but in recent weeks we’ve lost the platform.
“After going two goals down I’m pleased with the way the players responded, the way we came back into it.
“The last 20 minutes was all us, and it was a blatant penalty at the end.
“I thought at first it was the goalkeeper who’d come out, because it was such a good save.
“I’ve seen it again on the video and it’s a blatant handball.
“That would have allowed us to take away something from the game, but it doesn’t change the fact we’ve stopped doing what we have been doing best.”
Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P