Jewell: We showed spirit
By Tom Adams. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Paul Jewell hailed the character of his under-fire side as they ended a run of eight consecutive league defeats with a 1-0 win over Portsmouth.
Lee McCulloch's strike gave The Latics a crucial three points and arrested a slump in form that was threatening to undermine their top flight status.
However Wigan are now five points clear of the drop zone, and Jewell is confident his team will survive if they show more of the fighting spirit that served them well at The JJB Stadium.
"It's a tremendous performance after eight games without a win, without a point, and I thought we fully deserved it today," Jewell told Sky Sports.
"I thought the players played really well first half, second half dug in and they showed the steel, grit and determination that is required from now until the end of the season.
"We are not out of the woods by a long shot, but if we show that determination we will be okay."
The goal was a vindication of Jewell's decision to keep McCulloch at the club against his wishes following a bid from Rangers in January.
The forward's future remains unresolved, but Jewell insists he can rely on the Scot 100 per cent whatever his contractual situation.
"I want to keep Lee at the club because he is a good player, one of our main players," Jewell added.
"I thought he was excellent today, not just the goal, his work-rate, and one thing you know with Lee McCulloch, whatever happens he will give his best and I have got no problem with that."
Two January recruits in Julius Aghahowa and Caleb Folan teamed up in attack for a new-look strike-force, and Jewell was delighted with how the Premiership newcomers handled themselves.
"I thought they were a handful out there today. Julius Aghahowa probably doesn't know what has hit him.
"He got off the plane from the Ukraine at 10pm on Thursday night, straight into the first team which isn't ideal because he has come from pre-season in the winter.
"For Caleb Folan it is a massive step up from Chesterfield to come here. I think both of them have applied themselves very well."