Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini backed Wigan to beat relegation after requiring a brilliant late Carlos Tevez goal to overcome Roberto Martinez's men.
The champions were outplayed by the struggling Latics for large parts of a subdued Barclays Premier League clash at Etihad Stadium but Tevez's stunning intervention seven minutes from time snatched a 1-0 win.
The Argentinian turned on the edge of the area and slipped past two men before shooting into the top corner for his eighth goal in nine games.
It was harsh on Wigan, City's opponents in next month's FA Cup final, after Franco di Santo forced a fine save from Joe Hart and Shaun Maloney had a shot cleared off the line by Joleon Lescott.
Arouna Kone was also denied a shooting chance by a crucial Vincent Kompany block and the visitors were left to rue those misses as Tevez's strike left them in the bottom three.
But Mancini, when asked if Wigan could stay up, said: "I think so because they played very well.
"They don't deserve to be relegated and (Roberto) Martinez is a good manager. His team played very well.
"Wigan played better than us for 60 minutes. In the last 25 minutes, we played better, we had three or four chances to score but they probably didn't deserve to lose."
Both sides went into the game on the back of emotionally-draining and energy-sapping wins in the FA Cup semi-finals and that showed in a low-key first half.
When asked if there may have been a hangover from his side's game on Sunday, Mancini said: "Probably yes. We spent a lot of energy against Chelsea and it was difficult."
With leaders Manchester United drawing 2-2 with West Ham on the same night after scoring a controversial equaliser, City cut the gap at the top to 13 points.
Mancini dismissed a suggestion the title race could still be alive, although he did joke as he saw a replay of Robin van Persie's leveller for United on a pressroom TV.
He said: "This is not important now, it is finished.
"If they didn't score an offside (goal), probably..."
Martinez is also convinced his side will survive if they maintain such standards.
The Spaniard said: "We didn't take the chances, it is as simple as that.
"I thought we were magnificent from start to finish.
"We created four very good chances but those chances need to finish in the back of the net.
"If we do that in every game, we will get a lot of points.
"My players deserve huge credit. The performance is exactly what we need."
City first-team coach David Platt confirmed striker Sergio Aguero was withdrawn at half-time to protect a hamstring problem and he could be doubtful for the weekend trip to Tottenham.
Platt said: "He has got a problem, but it was a slight problem. It was more of a precaution than anything else. He felt his hamstring tighten up.
"Just the sheer proximity of the game on Sunday would say he is a doubt."