Wigan hero Shaun Maloney has revealed the frustration that preceded his dramatic return to the fold to help the Latics survival bid.
The £850,000 summer arrival from Celtic admits he was not fit enough to do himself justice on arriving for his second spell in England.
The 29-year-old estimates it took him six weeks to reach the required standard, by which point he thought he had lost the faith of manager Roberto Martinez.
And Maloney found himself out in the cold for four months prior to a dramatic return with goals at Liverpool and the match-winner against Manchester United.
His performances have helped spark an upturn in form that has lifted Wigan out of the relegation zone. For Maloney, in particular, it is all a far cry from the misery of the winter.
"When I came, I was pretty unfit," he admitted.
"For the first six weeks or so I was doing fitness work for the majority of the time rather than training with the team.
"It was frustrating after that. I just hoped that I would get a chance and when I did that I would stay in.
"It can be pretty deflating not playing, so the recent games have been pretty enjoyable."
Maloney is pleased to have written himself into Latics folklore but feels the three points could prove just as crucial.
"It is obviously an historic night for the club because it's the first time we have beaten Manchester United, but it's more important that we stay out of the bottom three come the end of the season," he added.
"By the time we got back into the dressing room, it was pretty calm.
"It's another win, even it was against United, but we're still very much in the relegation fight and we're going to have to win more games than this to stay up.
"The teams down there are producing results because it's all on the line for us.
"There are going to be results like this from all those clubs so we're going to have to keep winning.
"We've got five games left, ideally if you win three of them, you will be close to staying up.
"It's easy saying that, but we now need to do it."