Micah Richards believes Wigan gave Manchester City the wake-up call they needed ahead of the FA Cup final with their fine performance at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.
Carlos Tevez scored a late winner for City but manager Roberto Mancini admitted Wigan were the better team for an hour and his Latics counterpart, Roberto Martinez, rued the clear-cut chances they missed.
And right-back Richards, who made his comeback after six months on the sidelines with a knee problem, said City were taken aback by Wigan's excellence.
They meet again at Wembley on May 11 with Richards insisting that City, who seemed to have done the hard work by beating Chelsea in Sunday's semi-final, will not get complacent.
He explained: "It has given us a wake-up call. I wouldn't have said it was going to be a walkover but I think they were better than the whole team expected. They have got some real firepower up front and they seem to know that system inside out. There were runners coming from everywhere."
Richards has targeted a place in the FA Cup final but accepts he faces a battle to regain his spot in the team after Pablo Zabaleta cemented himself as the first-choice right-back during the Englishman's long absence.
He added: "Zaba has probably been our player of the season so far. He is one of my best friends in the team so to see him doing well - if anyone I am most happy for him. He has been here since 2008. I think he has had to work hard, like I have, to stay here because of all the money that was spent. For one player to be doing do well, I am happy it is him."
Richards reckons Zabaleta will return to the team for Sunday's game at Tottenham, saying: "I think Zaba is going to be back in after the way he has been playing but if I am called upon I will give 100%."
And Richards believes competition for places is only to expected at clubs like City who are challenging for silverware every season.
He said: "If you look at Chelsea and United, Arsenal, Liverpool - they've all got great players, people fighting for the position every week. At City, with all the money they have got and the players, it is always going to be the case."