Wigan boss Adrian Lam sympathised with Salford after a late Jackson Hastings drop goal earned his side an “ugly” 17-16 victory at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The game seemed to be heading for golden point before the former Salford half-back delivered the sucker punch.
The Warriors head coach, while relieved to take the two points which maintained his team’s winning start to the season, admitted Salford’s effort deserved more.
Lam said: “Salford deserved at least a point out of that game, I thought they were really courageous. I felt for them as a team – we got away with that one.
“I thought we were courageous and held on together during difficult periods of that game. You can’t coach that at training. I think there were plenty of reasons why it was an ugly win, but I don’t want to go down that path. We’ve won seven out of seven.”
Wigan lost full-back Bevan French to injury in the first half, but Lam said he was unsure as to the extent of the problem.
He said: “It looks like lower hamstring strain, though I’m not sure what level. That will get checked tomorrow and we’ll get some clarity on the damage.”
Hastings’ drop goal gave Wigan the lead for the first time in the match and Lam said he knew which aspects of his team’s performance needed addressing.
He said: “I knew it was going to go down to the wire. It’s a long season and I can’t get angry at everything we do wrong.
“We are going to have days like that. I applaud the players for hanging in there together. That will come back to reward us.”
Lam paid tribute to prop Brad Singleton, who scored a try in each half.
He said: “I’m really happy for Brad. He scored two simple tries, but he also charged down a field goal attempt which was massive for us.”
Salford head coach Richard Marshall also thought his team deserved more from the game.
He said: “I thought the better team lost. The game was probably the story of our season and we contributed to our own downfall.
“The Salford attitude I love and respect was there in abundance. We were not smart enough as a group, but we will get experience through learning. We will take the good points from the game and learn from the negatives.
“The difference between the teams was marginal – just a couple of moments of brilliance by a couple of their players. I thought Wigan had to work for every single inch today. There was loads of effort from us, but we need to start winning some games.”
Salford welcomed supporters back into the ground for the first time in more than 14 months and Marshall was delighted to have them back.
He said: “They definitely had a big impact on the way we played. The fans were outstanding and I’m just sorry we couldn’t get a win. We deserved something from the game, but credit to the Salford faithful.
“Ultimately it’s about getting wins and climbing up the table. We are improving, but the rate of improvement is not accelerated. We keep going. On the whole, our effort is outstanding but our smarts need to improve.”