Steve Bruce expressed delight at the result but not the performance after Villa claimed a scrappy 2-0 win at struggling Wigan.
Second half headers from James Chester and Scott Hogan secured a fifth victory in six games for Bruce’s men but the boss admitted they must play better after struggling for long periods against the relegation-threatened Latics.
Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone twice saved from Michael Jacobs to keep Villa on level terms and then brilliantly denied Omar Bogle after Chester had opened the scoring, seven minutes from time.
Hogan, who was introduced as a second half substitute, then made the game safe with his first goal for the club six minutes from time.
Victory kept Villa 12th in the Championship table while the hosts, who axed Warren Joyce earlier in the week, are now seven points from safety.
Bruce said: “That’s how difficult the Championship is. They (Wigan) were really, really game. They’ve obviously had a change of manager, a change of shape and they caused us a few problems, especially in the first part of the second half.
“It’s good to see a little bit of resilience, but if we’re being honest, we’ve got to be better than what we were today.”
The boss meanwhile hailed the performance of keeper Johnstone. The 23-year-old endured a difficult start to life at Villa after joining on loan from Manchester United in January.
Bruce added: “Sam’s progressing week by week. He’s a young player who we brought into the club and he can only get better.
“Today was his best performance in terms of making two really good saves, really good ones which matter down to his left-hand side.
“And we’ve always got that little bit up front. With Hogan fit now, I’ve got that nice scenario where I can bring on people like Henri Lansbury and Hogan to win us the game.”
He continued: “We’ve found a little bit of resilience and a bit of spirit which has slowly blown back into the club.
“We’ve got to play better if we are going to be successful. We’ve got to play better than what we did today. But at least we stuck at it and got a win because that is what this league is.
“You can scratch your head and come away from games and think ‘that’s the Championship’.”Subscribe to our Newsletter