Dean Smith branded Aston Villa’s 3-0 Sky Bet Championship defeat at Wigan the lowest point of his managerial career.
Villa were second best all over the pitch at the DW Stadium against a Wigan side that had won only one of their last 14 matches.
But goals from Gary Roberts late in the first half and Michael Jacobs and Joe Garner late in the second moved Paul Cook’s men six points above the drop zone.
“I told the players after the game this is the bottom of where I’ve been so far in my managerial career,” said Smith, whose side lost 3-0 at home to Swansea in the FA Cup last weekend.
“And it should be the bottom of where Aston Villa is.
“I’m an Aston Villa fan and to lose 3-0 two weeks on the spin is very, very disappointing.
“That performance was rubbish – it was very poor.
“And I’ve got to earn my money now and make sure it never happens again.
“There was nothing between the two sides in the first half, apart from the late goal.
“We had good possession at times, so did they, but nobody really opened anybody up.
“I just thought that in the second half we got a little bit frustrated and started playing a little bit too much as individuals rather than as a team.
“Overall I thought they ran harder than we did and that’s the disappointing thing.”
For Wigan manager Paul Cook it was a welcome three points after a worrying run of results, not helped by injuries to several key players.
One of them, Jacobs, returned from three months out to put Wigan two goals up after a great cross from Lee Evans.
“I’m delighted to win,” said Cook.
“It’s been a tough couple of months for us, since we beat Blackburn at home (on November 28).
“But watching us today, you could never imagine we were a team that was in trouble. I thought from the first minute to the 90th minute we were excellent.
“We coped with any danger at our end, but also all of the key decisions went our way.
“To win games, sometimes that’s the way it’s got to be.
“And in the blink of an eye, suddenly the world seems a brighter place.”
Cook handed a debut to Anthony Pilkington just days after his arrival from Cardiff, despite him not having played a single minute this term.
And his decision to field Jamie Jones in goal ahead of on-loan Christian Walton was rewarded by a first clean sheet in 10 matches.
With Nick Powell and Gavin Massey also expected back shortly, Cook can look forward with optimism for the first time in a while.
“Football is about players – it always has been and it always will be,” the Wigan boss added.
“Players can make managers look bad and they can make managers look good.
“Today, we had a lot of players who played well, and that’s great credit to them.”
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