Managerless Wigan slumped to their fourth consecutive defeat as two Ross McCormack goals propelled Leeds towards the play-off zone.
The Scottish striker headed home on 15 minutes after good work by Tom Lees and he doubled United’s lead with a quality free kick in the 76th minute.
Latics had two good first half chances when the Manchester United loanee Will Keane was denied by some excellent work from United’s veteran keeper Paddy Kenny.
Wigan had a good spell of pressure following the half time interval but overall the home team were good value for their three points.
Caretaker duo Graham Barrow and Sandy Stewart made four changes to the team from Sunday’s defeat to Derby. Scott Carson replaced Lee Nicholls in-goal and there were also starts for James Perch, Jean Beausejour and Chris McCann.
Barrow and Stewart decided to go for a 3-5-2 formation which mirrored the Leeds formation.
After a subdued opening ten minutes with neither team settling, Leeds started to take control and created several early opportunities.
The Wigan defence was looking uncomfortable to a succession of Leeds corners and crosses and it was from a set piece that they took the lead on 15 minutes.
The Latics defence failed to clear and when Tom Lees headed the ball back across goal, it fell to McCormack who poked the ball over the line.
Despite the setback Latics started to get into the game with Watson, Beausejour, McCann and McArthur combining well in midfield.
It was Watson who had the away team’s first chance when his shot from just inside the area was blocked by the Leeds defence.
Will Keane then had two great opportunities to draw Latics level. The first saw him lose his marker to get on the end of a blocked McArthur effort but Kenny saved well from close range.
The second chance saw him pick up a loose ball right in front of goal but once again Kenny blocked the striker.
Wigan continued their good work early in the second period and were dominating possession.
Graham Barrow made two positive substitutions introducing James McClean and Grant Holt for Beausejour and Keane, but neither player was able to make a significant impact.
Leeds sealed the victory on 76 minutes. McCormack swung over a free-kick from the left and although Pearce appeared to get a touch, replays showed the ball evaded everybody before bouncing beyond Carson.
Overall Wigan had showed signs of improvement from their recent performances but unless they can be more ruthless in front of goal they will continue to struggle.
However, the main priority at the current time is getting the right manager in place. Despite the disappointing run of results it is imperative that the Chairman Dave Whelan takes enough time to make the right decision with his next managerial appointment.
He should consult widely and steer clear of the usual managerial suspects, some might appear to provide an easy fix, but they could cause long-term damage to the club’s prospects.
Wigan need a manager who will continue the good work done by Roberto Martinez. A modern manager who follows the stylings of Cruyff and Guardiola. A coach who will encourage skill and technique and strive to play attractive attacking football.
If he comes from another European league or from a club outside the Premier League then so be it. He should be offered a long-term contract which will allow him to develop an overarching strategy for the club.
The wrong appointment at this time could be catastrophic and mean that Wigan are never again in a position to challenge for a Premier League place. So ‘Come On Chairman Dave’, we are all relying on you to make the right choice.