Latics were unable to prevent Burnley enjoying their promotion party as they went down 2-0 at Turf Moor on Easter Monday.
The Clarets confirmed their return to the Premier League after a four-year absence with goals by Ashley Barnes and Michael Kightly.
Uwe Rösler decided to rest several key players following Good Friday’s impressive demolition of Reading with Stephen Crainey, Jack Collison, James McClean and Marc-Antoine Fortune coming in for Roger Espinoza, Shaun Maloney, Callum McManaman and Martyn Waghorn.
The decision to shuffle the midfield and change the entire forward line from Friday’s game meant Burnley were given an advantage from the kick off.
This is not take anything away from the Clarets who rightly deserve their place in the Premier League after showing great consistency and determination over the course of the season.
Wigan adopted an uncharactersitic long ball game with forwards McClean and Fortune the target men. The Clarets coped easily with an increasingly frustrated Latics frontline and even the normally reliable Jordi Gomez was guilty of resorting to the speculative long ball.
Burnley were quicker out of the blocks and it was apparent that they were determined to ensure automatic promotion on the day.
Burnley went ahead on 21 minutes when Dean Marney’s deep cross from the right-hand side found Ashley Barnes who volleyed past the helpless Ali Al Habsi from close range.
Latics went close to equalising when a Gomez free-kick was flicked on by Fortune and onto the bar and Emmerson Boyce was unable to capitalise on the rebound.
Just before the interval the Clarets went two ahead. James Perch appeared to have fouled Scott Arfield in the left hand corner of the pitch near the touchline but referee Keith Stroud gave the free kick at the corner of the penalty area.
Michael Kightly drove his free kick towards goal and after taking a slight deflection off Crainey the ball flew past Al Habsi.
Callum McManaman and Rob Kiernan replaced Gomez and Crainey at half-time and it was not long before McManaman nearly got on the score sheet when he evaded several Clarets’ defenders before shooting just wide of Tom Heaton’s right-hand post.
Boyce had a couple of opportunities to reduce the deficit from set pieces but on both occasions he headed just wide of the Burnley goal.
Sean Dyche’s team were not to be denied the three points and their promotion spot and they might have increased their lead but for Al Habsi saving well from Barnes volley.
Rösler’s decision not to field his strongest team is certainly a debatable one but with more crucial fixtures in the offing it may prove to be a correct one.
A win at home to Blackpool on Saturday could be enough to secure a play-off place and soon the drama of the knockout phase will begin.
If Wigan do achieve promotion through the play-offs, this poor team selection and performance will soon be forgotten.