Bruce - We needed some luck
Steve Bruce paid tribute to his players as they battled through windy conditions and Pompey pressure.
By Hayley Paterson
Last Updated: 01/11/08 7:09pm
Steve Bruce paid tribute to the determination of his Wigan players as they battled through windy conditions and Portsmouth pressure to win 2-1 at Fratton Park.
The Wigan boss was eager for a win after four defeats on the bounce and Emile Heskey gave the Latics the win in the dying minutes with his 100th league goal.
Despite the wet and windy conditions, Bruce praised his players' fighting spirit and thanked Lady Luck who appeared to be a Wigan fan for most of the game as Portsmouth hit the bar four times.
"I don't think I've witnessed conditions quite like that, you don't usually get that not down the South Coast, but it made for an absolutely absorbing spectacle," Bruce told Sky Sports.
"Credit goes to both sets of players. Towards the end it was like a game on a park and I think the conditions made that.
"Both teams, especially Portsmouth when they scored, have gone so gung-ho, gone to get the winner and rightly so, and we've just managed to pick them off.
"They kept missing the chances, but I think we've had more luck in terms of hitting the bar, or them hitting the bar, than we've had possibly all season."
After a slow opening, Portsmouth looked the likelier of the two to break the deadlock but minutes after Papa Bouba Diop saw his header cleared off the line, the Senegalese man brought down Titus Bramble in the box to give away a penalty.
On-loan Egyptian star Amr Zaki coolly fired home the spot-kick, but Pompey replied in the second half thanks to substitute Niko Kranjcar's drilled effort for 1-1.
But not to be outdone, as both sides went in search of the win, Heskey found himself in some space and latched onto a Lee Cattermole through ball for his 100th league goal.
On the England striker's milestone, Bruce said: "It's great for him and a great personal thing. Over the last few weeks he's been fantastic so he'll remember the last few weeks I'm sure so he deserved to be our winner today."
The Wigan boss hailed his players for bouncing back from a host of horrendous defeats, notably the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Villa last weekend and then a Fulham defeat in midweek.
"I was really disappointed on Wednesday night because it wasn't us.
"We had such a wonderful start, then we lost in the last minute to Middlesbrough about a month ago, went to Liverpool and lost two in the last ten minutes and that knocked the stuffing out of us basically.
"Villa gave us a hiding and Fulham, we were just not with it at all so we were feeling a bit sorry for ourselves, so it was good that we could get another win under our belt and get started again," Bruce added.