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29 December 2013

Gaffer pleased by performance after derby stalemate

Uwe Rosler admitted he was a little frustrated that his side couldn't break the deadlock against one of the Championship's pace-setters this season, but was very happy with the performance his players produced against Burnley in Wigan Athletic's final game of 2013.

Latics' unbeaten home record against the Clarets remains intact after the entertaining 0-0 draw on Sunday afternoon, and speaking after the game Rosler gave his verdict, saying:

"The players had to dig deep, and overall I thought it was a very good game, especially at this stage of the season when team have had to play so many games in a short space of time.

"Both teams were determined to win the game, it was fairly even although we had more opportunities and were the only side in the game after the break, but unfortunately we couldn't take our chances to win the game.

"Towards the end of the game they were relying on their solid defence to see them through, and we didn't quite have enough to break them down but I was very happy with the players' application and after the period we've had I hope they've all come through the game without any more injuries.

"We had 65% possession and 17 attempts at goal, so it is frustrating that we couldn't find the back of the net.

"But at the same time we know there are areas of the team that still need improvement, and we're getting there, so after five games in charge (including Sheffield Wednesday) I'm happy with the development I'm seeing and the response they're giving me to what I'm asking of them."

Rosler made five changes at the start of the day to the side that were held by Birmingham City on Boxing Day, bringing Nick Powell back into the team after an injury the forward picked up against Reading.

The gaffer revealed the plan was to bring Powell off before the end of the game, but with the scoreline evenly poised, could not afford to remove his leading scorer, saying:

"Nick is my biggest worry, and I hope he's come through the game without any further issues with his hamstrings.

"Throughout the game I was constantly talking to him to check his situation, and to be honest I didn't want to play him for the full 90 minutes. But when you have a player of his quality, who can score a goal from very little, it's hard to take him off.

"It looks as though he's come through fine, but obviously we'll assess him and the rest of the squad before the trip to Derby."

Rosler also handed a club debut to Rob Kiernan towards the end of the match, having recalled the defender early from his loan spell at Southend just a couple of days previously.
Kiernan played for Rosler last season, whilst on loan at Brentford, which made the decision by the gaffer an easy one to make:

He said: "I was preparing to make a more offensive change at that moment, but spotted that Chris McCann had picked up a knock and couldn't continue.

"Rob played in that role for me at Brentford, so I had total confidence in his ability to fit in there and he did very well.

"I'm very happy for him to make his debut, I know what he can do and the potential he has and I'm looking forward to working with him again, this time at Wigan Athletic."

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