Owen Coyle told disgruntled Wigan fans to take a reality-check after a "horrible week" ended with a 3-1 loss to Derby, while Steve McClaren had sympathy for his opposite number.
Nine days ago, Latics had not lost at the DW Stadium in this campaign and were on the verge of qualifying for the Europa League's last 32.
However, a trio of defeats in front of their own supporters at the hands of Brighton, Zulte Waregem and the Rams has irked supporters accustomed to life in the Premier League.
Following a three-goal blitz inside the opening 29 minutes on Sunday through Craig Bryson, Simon Dawkins and Chris Martin, boos emanated from the home support while Derby fans' suggestion that Coyle is on borrowed time was greeted with applause by some of a Wigan persuasion.
Coyle, who also castigated fans for their vocal midweek criticism of midfielder Jordi Gomez, suggested certain supporters may have been spoiled by an eight-year top-flight stay.
"If it comes through expectation, then so be it," Coyle said of the discontent.
"The expectation can only come from being in the Premier League because it's not as if Wigan Athletic have been winning games every week for four or five years, far from it.
"Wigan Athletic have been in the bottom three for the last four, five years and managed a few times to escape and they've done brilliantly to do that.
"They won the (FA) Cup which was brilliant but they lost their place in the Premier League and with them losing their place, the players, the ones of big value, left.
"It's building that team and putting it together. If people want to be ultra critical that's the nature of football these days.
"I'm old enough to deal with that; if they think there's something better that's all well and good. That's why we love football, it's all opinion."
Coyle, whose side pulled one goal back through Nick Powell after being "shellshocked" by Derby's rapid start, was left to reflect on a run of home fixtures which has dented their aspirations on both the domestic and continental fronts.
"It's hard to take, it's been a horrible week," the Latics manager added.
"We lost our first game at home last week and it's a week that should have led to a lot more promise than what we've delivered."
In contrast, the revitalised Rams moved up to fifth in the Championship table and continued their impressive form since boss McClaren came back to the club.
McClaren is no stranger to managing the demands of European competitions, having taken Middlesbrough to a UEFA Cup final in 2006, and revealed he used that to his advantage.
"I've played many Sunday games after Europe and they are so hard," he said.
"Normally you play the first half to get to the second half, that's what we call it.
"So we said we have to play a high tempo first half, squeeze, press, and the team did that.
"I think we took Wigan by surprise and the goals were terrific, the football was terrific and we controlled the game from start to finish."
The hosts were more lively after the interval and McClaren's side were indebted to goalkeeper Lee Grant for taking full advantage of their electric start.
McClaren added: "It was a funny kind of 90-minute display and we did not have enough control in the second half.
"But this was a test coming here, against a very good team and the players have taken advantage."