Uwe Rösler has certainly made an impressive start to his managerial career at Wigan Athletic. Latics have progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 victory at MK Dons and currently sit 10th in the Championship. They are undefeated in the league since the former Brentford manager took over, taking 14 points from a possible 18, with a game in hand on most of their rivals.
The team previously struggled for consistency under Owen Coyle and culminated in the former Bolton Wanderers manager’s early exit. But Rösler has quickly galvanized his squad and is now looking towards the play-offs and a quick return to the Premier League.
Rösler must be regarded as very unlucky not to win the Championship Manager of the Month award for December, particularly as Wigan won 1-0 at winner Steve McClaren’s Derby County on January 1st.
The Latics have now gone four Championship games without conceding a goal and achieved their biggest win under Rosler with a 3-0 victory against Bournemouth last weekend. It is fair to say that the fans expectations of success are now much greater than under the less than organized Coyle.
It is often the case that a change in manager can have an immediate effect on results but this often tails off very quickly. For example, Paolo Di Canio’s impact at Sunderland probably saved them from relegation last season but it all ended sourly when results failed to materialize this season and Di Canio was dismissed after only thirteen games in charge.
In contrast the Rösler appointment appears to be the perfect match. Just like the Wigan owner Dave Whelan, Rösler has a reputation as a very determined and hard working individual. He has also had to win a personal battle against cancer, which is documented in his recently published autobiography ‘Knocking Down Walls’.
The former East German international has family in the North West and made his name in England as a popular striker for Manchester City, so the move to Wigan was an ideal step up for him.
He is very ambitious and wants to manage in the Premier League and thinks he can achieve this with the Latics. The club does have a large squad of players with top-level experience, and with the addition of a few good signings in the transfer window a push for the play-offs looks a realistic target.
Since taking over at the DW Stadium he has not only steadied the ship and changed the style of play, but tactics, organisation, team selections and team spirit have all improved.
The new manager has introduced a high tempo pressing game at Wigan similar to the successful German teams like Borussia Dortmund. His football philosophy is comparable to his famous countrymen Jürgen Klinsmann and Joachim Löw, with the emphasis on quick transition, and based on quick counter attack.
He likes good technical players, with forward passes and to attack in numbers. The recent success of the German clubs and national team make this an attractive template. But replicating this style will require improved fitness levels at Wigan.
Rösler has moved quickly to bring in a new Head of Performance Chris Haslam from Brentford and maintaining fitness levels could be crucial if his style of football is to be a success.
Rosler’s impact since taking over at the DW Stadium in early December has been dramatic and all the signs are that Wigan have made the right appointment this time around.