Swansea recorded their first Premier League win since August with a 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic at the Liberty Stadium.
The hosts controlled possession for large swathes of the first period but were unable to convert their supremacy into a first-half advantage as the sides went to the break level.
The early second-half play followed much the same pattern as that of the first as the hosts were dominant in midfield.
However, just as it looked like the visitors were to again frustrate their hosts, marquee summer signing Pablo Hernandez gave the Swans a deserved lead with 65 minutes on the clock.
Michu quickly doubled their advantage with a header from a corner only two minutes later but the Latics managed to halve the deficit through Emmerson Boyce with 69 minutes gone to set up a frantic finish.
Arouna Kone should have salvaged a point for the visitors but his close-range header was wrongly ruled out for offside.
Having had to deal with apparent murmurs of discontent from the changing room alongside having not registered a league win since August, Michael Laudrup’s Premier League honeymoon period was a distant memory as he welcomed Roberto Martinez’s Wigan to the Liberty Stadium.
Following his half-time withdrawal in the game against Reading last time out, Danny Graham dropped to the bench with Michu leading the line, while Pablo Hernandez replaced Nathan Dyer on the flank.
Wigan, perennial relegation survivors, owe their Premier League status to an incredible late season surge but they have failed to replicate that form in the early part of the new campaign and Martinez was still without Antolin Alcaraz and winger Albert Crusat as he named an unchanged side from their draw against Everton in their last fixture.
With both sides regarded amongst the better passing sides in the league, much of the first period saw both sides retain a good defensive shape as the other looked for gaps that for the first half an hour were not forthcoming. The best chance of the early play fell to Shaun Maloney but his shot on the turn was easily saved by Michel Vorm.
Swansea were, as usual, neat in midfield, but the wisdom of playing Michu, an attacking midfielder by trade, at the focal point of their attack looked questionable as the former Rayo Vallecano man continued to drop deep to pick up the ball leaving the hosts with options limited if they had the opportunity to break.
With the pace of the match at best laboured, the usual vociferous support from the home faithful was lacking but they were roused to their feet as the Swans began to utilise space down the wings to move into the ascendancy.
The right flank was proving particularly fruitful for the hosts, and their best chance of the half came from that flank but Michu just couldn’t arch his neck far enough back to direct a deflected Wayne Routledge cross on target.
The Latics, a side more than capable of producing incisive breaks of their own, reminded their hosts of their threat with a little under ten minutes of the half left, but Jean Beausejour, having been played in by the busy Maloney, got under his effort as he bore down on goal.
Despite that late threat, Martinez will have been the happier of the managers to go to the interval on level terms, and the hosts once again began the second half with the lion’s share of possession but they remained unable to fashion clear-cut chances.
It took the hosts until just after the hour mark to register their first decent chance when Ali Al Habsi did well to turn a Ki Sung-Yueng effort around the post but they were to get the lead their play richly deserved a few minutes later.
Hernandez turned on the edge of the box to fire past Al Habsi before Michu rose at the near post to head a Jonathan De Guzman corner past the Omani keeper to double the advantage and put the hosts firmly in control.
However, Wigan, who have recorded only one win this season in the league, reacted admirably as Boyce managed to divert a scuffed shot from James McCarthy past Vorm acrobatically with his heel to reduce the arrears.
Wigan thought they were level a minute later but Kone’s header – from a Beausejour cross – was ruled out for offside but replays suggested he was onside.
Despite that setback, the visitors continued to pile on the pressure and should have been celebrating the point their much improved performance deserved but Franco Di Santo scuffed his effort straight at Vorm having been played in by second-half substitute Ben Watson.
That was the last clear cut chance for Martinez’s side as the Swans held on.
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Wayne Routledge - Swansea: The diminutive winger was a threat throughout but also offered a useful outlet as the game drew to a close.
SWANSEA CITY: Vorm 7, Rangel 6, Williams 6, Chico 6, Davies 7, Britton 7, Ki 7, De Guzman 7, Routledge 8, Hernandez 7, Michu 7. Subs: Dyer 7, Graham 6.
WIGAN ATHLETIC: Al Habsi 5, Boyce 5, Caldwell 5, Figueroa 6, Ramis 5, Beausejour 6, McCarthy 5, McArthur 5, Maloney 6, Di Santo 5, Kone 6. Subs: Watson 6, Gomez 6, Boselli 5.