It’s been a mixed week for Latics with a first defeat at Shrewsbury and an impressive display at Charlton. It was a below par performance in Shropshire with several players not at their best. Midfielders Sam Morsy and Lee Evans, who have been outstanding in the early games, had been away on international duty and this seemed to have had a negative effect on them.
Latics wasted some good early chances and the longer the game went on the less they looked likely to score. Ryan Colclough’s red card for foul and abusive language after the final whistle further compounded matters.
But credit must also be given to Shrewsbury who worked hard, closed down and defended resolutely after taking the lead. They are the best team Latics have faced so far this season and it will be interesting to see if they can maintain their early momentum.
Despite the first reversal manager Paul Cook didn’t panic and demonstrated his usual reasoned ’common sense’ approach to all football matters.
“As our supporters will find out with me, I’m not a manager who chops and changes and never will be, I’m not that type of person. Our job is to make players not destroy them, and I believe in the whole squad and the players here.
I think there’s a correct time for change and I also think there’s a wrong time, and that doesn’t mean there won’t be changes on Tuesday because logic tells you there will be, but if you look back at our last few performances we’ve been excellent at times, so one little blip doesn’t make us a bad team.
Every game is the same in this league and they come around so fast. What myself and my staff have learnt over the past few years is that is such a long campaign.
People can get far too high too quickly and certainly now far too low, so for us it’s about having our team playing the way we want them to play and being fit enough to carry that out, which will yield results.”
Cook’s approach paid huge dividends on Tuesday night when the same players dominated Charlton and came away with a convincing 3-0 victory at the Valley.
Charlton had won every home fixture since early April but Latics set about them right from the kick off.
Morsy and Evans controlled the midfield and the forward four of Grigg, Jacobs, Massey and Powell were complemented by the marauding full backs Reece James and Nathan Byrne. Massey grabbed a couple and Morsy got on the score sheet but it could so easily have been five or six.
Latics now have four home games in the next five fixtures and are nicely placed in the League One table in sixth place with a game in hand on most of the teams around them.
This article was first published in the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 15th September 2017.