Plenty of positive signs for Rosler after victory on home debut as Latics boss.
Uwe Rosler praised the blistering start made by his team and the strength of character shown to come out on top in a pulsating derby victory over Bolton Wanderers at the DW Stadium in front of the biggest home crowd of the season.
It was Latics’ first home victory over their local rivals since 2008, and followed in the dramatic footsteps of Rosler’s first game in charge, against NK Maribor on Thursday night.
Asked if he thought every game under his tenure is going to be as nerve-shredding, the German said:
“I hope not! The closing minutes of the second half were unbearable.
He added: “The start to the game was perfect. The players were ready to take everything on board that we spoke about beforehand and play my sort of football; combining pressure on the opposition high up the field with individual skill on the ball.
“For the opening 35 minutes I don’t think the back four had to defend because the players ahead of them did a tremendous job at the other end of the pitch.
“But at 2-0 up we didn’t pressurise the opposition as effectively as did beforehand; we dropped off and allowed them forward.
“The second half started that way and Bolton got themselves back in the game so we made a couple of substitutions to try and push them back into their own half.
“In the end the players did fantastically well to dig in and get the win we were looking for. Bolton pushed us to the limit; I don’t think was much more my players had in them in their legs by the final whistle, but I am optimistic, having seen the first 35 minutes, that in the coming weeks and months we’ll get closer to playing the way I want them to over the whole 90 minutes.
“I hope the supporters have seen today the players trying to play the way I have spoken about this week; pressing high and playing the ball through the lines with quick passing.
“I’m sure the fans understand that it will take time to change the style of play from the previous management, but hopefully they are happy with what they saw today.
“From a character point-of-view there is so much in that group of players which will help us through a difficult match programme over the festive period.”
The team’s collective performance was sprinkled with some individual performances and moment of brilliance.
Callum McManaman turned in a man-of-the-match display and grabbed the winning goal in completing the 90 minutes, and Rosler was made up to see the best of the 22-year-old:
“He was very good against Maribor on Thursday and as his confidence is rising right now I wanted to maintain that momentum he has today.
“Everyone saw today how he has an intense style of play, always making life difficult for opponents and although he can’t do that for 90 minutes at the moment, we’ll work hard in the coming weeks to get him up to that level – he’s a massive asset for us and a match winner as we saw today.”
Nick Powell scored a real contender for goal of the season in the first half, responding instinctively to a deflected shot inside the Bolton penalty area and acrobatically converting a bicycle kick into the top right corner, leaving Rosler to praise the forward:
“I’ve been very impressed with Nick; he has enormous energy around him and the fitness to stretch an opposition over the whole 90 minutes.
“He can play in a number of positions and his all-round contribution in the last two games has pleased me.
“His goal was tremendous, and speaks volumes of the talent he has.”