Wigan coach Shaun Wane hailed goalkicking winger Pat Richards after his 18-point haul on his comeback helped the Warriors to a 38-6 victory over Salford at the DW Stadium.
Richards, who scored 26 points on his previous appearance at Hull four months ago, picked up from where he left off by scoring two tries and kicking five goals as Wigan edged closer to the Stobart Super League leaders' shield.
"It's great to have him back," Wane said. "He only played 40 minutes for our Under-20s but he said he felt good and I had no qualms about putting him back in. He's got a big smile on his face, he's really pleased he's got that game under his belt. He's a great player and a good asset for us on our left edge."
He added: "No disrespect to Josh (Charnley) but there were certain kicks tonight that you knew Paddy was going to get."
The win puts Wigan three points clear of second-placed Warrington with two matches left of the regular season and restored Wane's confidence in his side's defence.
"Our defence was fantastic," he said. "Salford have been scoring plenty of points so that pleased me. I would love for it to be nil but that wasn't to be.
"I was pleased with our line speed and desire to get into contact. That was one thing we needed to improve and we did that today."
Salford coach Phil Veivers, who gave a debut to 20-year-old forward Adam Walne in a patched-up side, was reasonably happy with his team's efforts.
"I'll take that with the amount of ball we coughed up," he said. "We invited them to score against us.
"They were at full strength and we were missing 10 players that would have started."