Wigan Athletic manager Malky Mackay saw his charges slump to a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Norwich City on Saturday. The Latics manager has been embroiled in off the field controversies since his arrival at the club, but it is on the pitch where he needs to start making his managerial skills count.
Wigan were one of the pre-season promotion favourites for promotion but have now won only one game in the last 14 under Uwe Rosler and Mackay and are facing a major battle to retain their Championship status.
The signs are not looking good as Latics produced a tepid performance and quite unlike the previous two games under Mackay.
Jonny Howson’s early goal gave the Canaries only their second win in eleven Championship games and relieved the pressure on under fire manager Neil Adams.
Latics made three changes to the team which lost in the last game at Sheffield Wednesday with Shaun Maloney, James Perch and Maynor Figueroa coming in for Boyce, Forshaw and Ramis.
Latics started like strangers with Norwich quick out of the blocks and soon the away team were ahead.
With only five minutes on the clock Howson was allowed far too much time and space inside the box to fire a shot past a helpless Scott Carson.
Almost immediately the Canaries could have doubled their lead but an unchallenged Cameron Jerome shot tamely at Carson.
Latics continued to struggle against quicker and sharper opposition and their first attempt on goal only came on the half hour mark. The hard-working Marc-Antoine Fortune controlled a long ball on the turn and produced a low shot which was comfortably saved by John Ruddy.
Callum McManaman then produced Latics best effort on goal when he cut inside and fired a drive narrowly wide of Ruddy’s right hand post.
Despite these two attempts the home team had been second best in the first half and were lucky to go into the interval only one goal down.
Wigan did improve in the second period and managed to push Norwich back onto their own 18 yard line, but they failed to create many clear-cut chances.
James Perch headed James McClean’s free-kick towards goal but Ruddy saved low down, and with eight minutes remaining Fortune’s cross could not be turned home by McClean or McManaman after Ruddy had spilled the ball.
Latics failed to create little else before the final whistle and Norwich returned to Norfolk grateful for all three points.
Few of Latics players emerged with much credit from the game. The normally reliable Ben Watson and Chris McCann were ineffective and Shaun Maloney struggled with a virus and was substituted after being sick at half time.
Latics were once again toothless in attack and Mackay needs to address the striker conundrum immediately or they will continue to struggle.
After such a poor display it is clear that the manager has a significant task ahead. He quickly needs to get a positive reaction from his players starting at Watford next Saturday.
In his post match interview the Wigan manager vowed to turn the situation around:
“There’s nothing else for it but to work hard; I’ve been here three weeks, I’ve got a good, honest group of players and I know that but we’ve got to make sure we turn that into wins.
“That’s why I’m here, that’s what I do and I’ll work from morning to night to make sure that we turn this around for Wigan Athletic”.