Norwich manager Chris Hughton hailed the contribution of Wes Hoolahan after the Republic of Ireland playmaker celebrated signing a new contract with the winning goal in a 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Wigan at Carrow Road.
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The Canaries, knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Aston Villa here in midweek, made it five successive home league victories to continue their remarkable run of 10 Premier League matches unbeaten.
Anthony Pilkington set the home side on their way with a well-taken effort after 15 minutes, only for Wigan substitute Shaun Maloney to level at the start of the second half.
However, Hoolahan, who has agreed an extension to stay at the Norfolk club until 2015, arrived on cue after 64 minutes to head past Ali Al Habsi.
"Fortunately for us Wes has signed a new deal and he has earned it, and not just for this season," said Hughton.
"He was excellent today and to see Wes get a headed goal was worth the entrance fee alone. Wes capped off a really good all-round team performance."
Norwich should have put the game beyond the visitors, who were again hampered by injuries, but were thwarted by a string of fine saves from the Latics stopper.
Hughton said: "We should really have been more than the one up at half-time and when they scored, then there was a concern.
"We made a bit of hard work for ourselves, but I thought over the 90 minutes we thoroughly deserved it."
Norwich's remarkable run - they have not lost in the Premier League since defeat at Chelsea on October 6 - has seen them climb up to seventh in the table.
Hughton, though, maintained it was all about keeping a safe distance from any relegation dogfight, with a trip to West Brom next weekend before Chelsea and Manchester City head to Norfolk over the hectic festive schedule.
"It is not being negative, but for a club like ourselves, it is about keeping as big as gap as you can between us and down," said Hughton.
"There is no shame in saying that, it is a reality for clubs like ourselves.
"But our form at the moment has deserved it.
"We are a team which has to work very hard for the points we get, so there will be no getting carried away."
Wigan, meanwhile, have now lost five of the last seven and remain in the bottom three.
The Latics job was not made any easier following an ankle injury to midfielder James McCarthy, who was replaced at half-time following a crunching tackle by Bradley Johnson.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez hit out at the Canaries midfielder.
"It was a nasty challenge, one incident off the ball," the Spaniard said.
"The referee has seen it and has given Johnson a yellow card. It is one of those actions you don't want to see. James McCarthy has been in good form, and they took him out of the game, which is very disappointing."
Martinez added: "It is his ankle ligaments, we will X-ray it and get the results from the scans very shortly, but I doubt if he will be available for the next 10 days."
Wigan have several key men missing through injury, notably in defence, and Martinez felt his team had simply failed to get themselves a foothold in the match.
"Our start was sluggish and pedestrian, we were very, very, very poor and had our goalkeeper to thank for keeping us in the game," he said.
"The second half was very different, we started to control the game and Norwich had to start to defend.
"We scored a beautiful goal and were starting to build positive momentum, so our disappointment is the smallest man on the pitch gets a free header in the six-yard box.
"I felt with our second-half performance we merited something out of the game, but it was a self-inflicted defeat."