Wigan boss Roberto Martinez declared himself a proud man after his side overcame a spirited display from his former club to reach the Carling Cup quarter-finals.
Mauro Boselli’s first Wigan goal and late penalty from Ben Watson saw the Latics progress to the last eight with a hard-earned 2-0 win over Swansea at the DW Stadium.
Martinez feels his team are now starting to gel but was also pleased to see the club he guided to promotion to the Championship in 2008 put up such resistance.
The Spaniard said: “I am very pleased because the players who came in had a real tactical test and they coped.
“It was a fantastic encounter. You can only be proud – players you have seen growing in League One, coming into the Championship and they could compete in the Premier League, some of them.
“You don’t see many British games like that. It was like watching a game in another country.”
Martinez made seven changes from the side which drew at Bolton in the Barclays Premier League last weekend.
Swansea boss Brendan Rogers also made a number of changes but the visitors dictated most of the pace in a goalless first half.
They should even have gone ahead after Cedric van der Gun broke clear but the Dutchman passed instead of shooting and Craig Beattie was flagged offside before turning the ball in.
That proved a crucial decision and Wigan upped the tempo after the break to claim a 51st-minute lead with Argentinian striker Boselli’s first goal since a £6m summer move from Estudiantes.
Watson secured victory late on after a foul on substitute Charles N’Zogbia.
“I felt the environment was really electric and typical of two teams wanting to get through to the next round,” said Martinez.
“It was a really high-quality game of football.
“If, as a neutral, you don’t enjoy that sort of game there is something wrong with you.”
Martinez had no doubt the officials were right to disallow Beattie’s goal.
“When you look at the replay he is clearly offside and it is an easy decision for the linesman,” he said.
Rogers did not agree.
“If you see it again, you will see that it shouldn’t have been disallowed,” Rogers said.
“I’m disappointed with the referee’s or the linesman’s positioning, but that is how it goes.
“I was very proud of the team. We have come to a Premier League club and shown we can hold our own, if not more than that.”
The other major issue was the constant abuse Martinez received from Swansea’s impressive 5,000-strong following.
Bitterness over Martinez’s acrimonious departure from the Liberty Stadium last year evidently still lingers.
“It is understandable,” said Martinez, who once claimed he would only leave Swansea if forced out.
“I heard people say I lied to the fans – I never lied. What I said at the time was because I felt that way.
“After that I was interested in what was best at that moment.”