OWEN Coyle hopes Wanderers have put the “dark days” behind them after earning bragging rights in the derby against Wigan.

Without a Premier League win since the opening day of the season, the pressure had been building on the Whites despite a fearsome run of fixtures against the top clubs.

Coyle had hauled his squad in for extra training during the international break, instigating a back to basics approach, in a bid to shore up what had been record-breaking leaky defence.

Both his hard work and faith were rewarded as Nigel Reo-Coker, David Ngog and Chris Eagles struck to land a deserve three points at the DW Stadium.

“We were better than our performances showed,” he said after the Wigan game. “It's fine you play for 45 minutes in the second half against Chelsea, it's fine you play for 45 against Arsenal in the first half.

“What you must do is put a performance together and we did that from start to finish against Wigan.

“But because of our start (to the season) it put us under more pressure coming into this game. We knew we had to get a result.

“But I was very confident. We worked hard on the training ground and the international break was a good thing in many ways.

“I knew, given the intensity of our work on the training ground, we were ready to give a big performance.

“I have always said we will come through, show our quality and kick on. People may say things they shouldn't when they have won a game, but I said this in the dark days.”

Coyle had come under considerable criticism during a desperate run but dedicated the result to the Wanderers fans, who made up nearly a quarter of the total attendance on the day.

“We had 4000 fans here, sounded more like 20,000 with the vocal support. So, it was great to put a smile on their faces,” he said.

“The league table doesn't concern me. I know there is a stigma concerned with being down there.

“I know that because I came here with us bottom of the table and favourites for relegation. And I have said all along that results would pick up.

“The biggest thing for me was when we lost that goal. I can't remember Jussi having a save to make before that goal.

“It would have been easy for a team coming off the back of a number of losses to feel fragile or feel sorry for ourselves. But suddenly we started hunted the ball down again, just as the skipper did in the corner to set up the goal for David Ngog.

“We picked ourselves up again after the penalty and looked like we would score a goal every time we went up the park. That is credit to the lads.”

Perhaps the day's only down-note was a bizarre second-half booking for Paul Robinson.

The full-back was wrongly penalised for handball after fourth official Neil Swarbrick appeared to convince referee Mike Dean to reverse his initial decision to allow play to continue – sparking a furious reaction from Coyle and his staff on the touchline.

And it was still an issue of much contention for the Whites boss after the final whistle.

“It wasn't handball, it hit him in the chest. I think the fourth official gave the decision,” he said.

“Mike Dean has played on, so what is doubly frustrating about that is not only was it not a handball, but also I thought the new interpretation of the rule was for incidents off the ball.

“He got it wrong and I said that at the time. Whether it was my quick Scottish accent or not, but I don't think he picked up on what I was saying.”