Kone's ACN frustrations boost Wigan
Arouna Kone believes Wigan are reaping the benefits of his frustrating African Cup of Nations after helping them to a vital 3-0 victory in the relegation clash at Reading on Saturday.
The Wigan top scorer was an unused substitute in each of Ivory Coast's last three games in South Africa but said he had returned to England hungry for goals.
He scored back-to-back braces in the FA Cup victory over Huddersfield and the 3-0 win at Reading to reach double figures for the season.
"I went to the African Cup of Nations with the aim of playing, and obviously I didn't play as much as I would have hoped," he told the Wigan Observer.
"The flip side of that was that I come back refreshed, which will hopefully help Wigan Athletic move up to their rightful position in the league.
"If I had played every game for the Ivory Coast, I perhaps would have been a bit tired and worn out. Instead I am hungry and fresh, and I think I have shown that in the last two matches."
Wigan leapfrogged Reading with their victory at the Madejski Stadium and climbed out of the relegation zone.
And Kone hopes that will spur them on for the rest of the season as they try to earn a ninth successive campaign in the Premier League.
"Saturday's game had the feel of a derby game in that it was such a crucial game at the bottom of the table against a rival team," he added.
"That was the way we approached the game, and it was such a fantastic performance. Hopefully we will gain a lot of confidence now for the rest of the season."