Sunderland’s 4-1 win at Wigan was more impressive than their weekend win against Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City, said manager Martin O’Neill.
Craig Gardner gave the visitors the lead with a stunning free-kick right at the end of the first half before James McClean netted his first Sunderland goal.
Hugo Rodallega pulled one back for Wigan but their hopes were quickly extinguished by a Stephane Sessegnon strike and David Vaughan added a fourth late on.
O'Neill said: "I thought it was the best result since I arrived. Manchester City was a great win for us, to score in the last minute, it seemed as if we'd played three games, particularly in the last 20 minutes of the game.
"We've had a day less to prepare (than Wigan). I accept the fact the adrenaline's still flying with us but to come here and win today was a fantastic performance. I just don't know where they got the energy and will to keep going from.
"I thought Wigan controlled the game early on but they're playing at home and they're going to get the ball. We were always dangerous on the counter-attack and could have scored a couple of goals ourselves in the first half.
"But, having said that, I do accept we rode our luck a little bit. We got the goal just before half-time and I thought our second-half performance was fantastic."
Manager Roberto Martinez was once again left bemoaning the rough end of a refereeing decision after Mike Dean ruled Watson had felled Bendtner for Gardner's opener.
The Spaniard said: "The first goal was going to be vital. In the situation that Sunderland were, they had an outstanding result two days ago and we knew we were going to play a side with great confidence but probably who were going to sit deep and defend.
"It was going to be a matter of creating enough chances to open them up and score the first goal. I was delighted that we were patient in the first half, we opened them up two or three times and hit the post twice.
"They were key moments and then Sunderland take the lead with a world-class strike from a free-kick that was non-existent and from then on it became a very hard job.”