Speaking after Saturday’s 2-1 victory against Huddersfield Town, midfielder Chris McCann said it was important for Latics to dig in and hold their opponents out as the Terriers chased the game.
The 26-year-old said that with Europa League football on the horizon on Thursday, it gives the team a chance to turn a positive result in the Championship, into an expressive performance in Europe.
“We’ve been playing some good stuff lately and this weekend we turned that into the result we’ve been looking for over the previous two games.
“It’s not always going to be pretty because you come up against tough sides in this league and the second half on Saturday was a bit of an ugly game, but we came through it and secured a massive result.
“Winning at the weekend gives us huge confidence to go into Thursday night knowing we’re unbeaten in our last four games in all competitions.
“Playing in the Europa League gives us another chance to express ourselves in a different manner to the league.”
McCann added that games in both competitions go hand-in-hand and that there is one collective aim:
“The main thing is those three points have pushed us up the table, hopefully that will be a springboard to kick us on and progress even further.
“We got our rewards for digging in and holding off a side that came at us in the second half.
“We’re looking for a good result now out in Russia to help our aim of progressing in Europe and it’s another exciting challenge in our season.
“It’s important that we do well on both fronts, so we’re very focussed on what happens against Rubin Kazan.”
Currently on a run of three straight starts in the Championship, McCann said he’s relishing the opportunity handed to him by manager Owen Coyle.
“I’m really enjoying my time in the team because it took me a while to get adjusted, so I’m happy that I’ve found a level of consistency.
“Hopefully I can keep up the standard with the rest of the team and retain my place.”
Continuing on the subject of consistency, McCann added:
“The one thing we need in the league is consistency and I think we’re finding that now in our performances, all we have to do is make sure that carries over to our results.
“If you can find the right mix of grinding out results and playing good football then I know from experience that it can work in the Championship.
“Every team has their own run in this division and if we can get back-to-back wins and start one of our own then who knows where we could be, come the turn of the year and beyond.
“There’s a long way to go, but we’re playing some good stuff and we’ve made encouraging progress.”