Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was delighted to beat Wigan and end a dismal run of four successive Premier League defeats.
The Magpies started the evening seeking their first win in all competitions since 28 October and hovering two points above the drop zone.
But a brace by Demba Ba eased the pressure as they brushed the Latics aside 3-0, although their cause was aided by the disputed red card for Maynor Figueroa for a shoulder barge on Papiss Cisse.
Ba's subsequent penalty opened the scoring in the 13th minute and was the perfect tonic for a team struggling with form and injuries.
"It's been difficult for the players and staff," Pardew told Sky Sports. "We've had so many knocks with injuries - game after game - and it was nice to get a break and it was a break.
"We've had to work very hard for that win. It's been four defeats in a major football city and that puts a lot of pressure on us."
Shane Ferguson, winger Sammy Ameobi and, in particular, midfielder Vurnon Anita received most of the praise.
"It's been difficult for the young players," Pardew added. "They've come in when the experienced players haven't been playing so well.
"Anita was outstanding. I have to pay credit to him. He hasn't seen too many wins at this club and he's been terrific and will be important for us. It's nice to see him play so well."
Pardew admitted the Europa League commitments had been a real headache with the congested fixture list, but insisted the tournament was still a good thing for the club.
"We've enjoyed it," he said. "These Thursday and Sunday games have made it very difficult though.
"However, we're looking forward to the second phase and hopefully give our fans some away trips and something to cheer about."
Who was the man of the match in Newcastle's win over Wigan?