Emnes bagged his fourth goal of the season in the 58th minute with a brilliant piece of control and a finish to match that proved to be the decisive moment in the game as Blackburn made it seven points from the last nine.
Mowbray’s impact has been instantaneous, with a second successive 1-0 home win, and in a game of few chances they deserved to take all three points.
The lack of chances – and quality at times – is to be expected in a nervous and tense game that means so much to both sides, but Emnes provided the finish to take all three points.
And after securing their eighth win in 10 home league encounters against these opponents, Mowbray said challenged his striker to weigh in with more goals – this was his first since September 24.
He said: “I think the performance level of the team has been good. I think their endeavour, their drive, their commitment, their togetherness has been what’s got us through.
“Their desire and their resilience is what got us there today – and a brilliant goal from Emnes.
“Great distribution from Steele – two players I know very well from my time at Middlesbrough. Delighted for Marvin because he needs to add goals to his game and I know he can.
“In the past he’s got 18 or 19 league goals and he needs to get into double figures. If you’re going to play number 10 behind the striker in any football team, you have to have goals. You’ve got to get to double figures every season. I’m pleased for Marvin, pleased for the team and pleased for supporters.
“There was a lot of hard work from that group of players today and hopefully we’ll get the benefits. They can feel the togetherness and it builds really, and the confidence that wins will give you.”
With 30 goals all season, Wigan are the Championship’s lowest scorers and it was painfully obvious at Ewood Park, as their best chance came through a deflected effort.
After failing to score for the third time in four outings, assistant manager Graham Barrow said the midfielders and forwards have to be “braver” to get into positions that will result in more goals to push the team up the table.
He said: “It’s a massive game for both teams and Blackburn probably just showed the bit of quality that was needed to win it. We think we’ve got the quality on the pitch and we’ve got the lads who battle away at the back and keep you in the game.
“I think the finger has to be pointed at people higher up the pitch. From midfield onwards, we have to do better.
“There’s different ways to score and it’s probably down to bravery and commitment to get forward. It certainly wasn’t there first half was it? And even when we started to improve in the second half, we conceded.
“It’s still all to play for.”