Coyle looking for big performance against Derby on Sunday
Owen Coyle insists that the defeat he described as ‘heart-breaking’ against Zulte Waregem on Thursday night, will not influence his players’ frame of mind when they line up against Derby County on Sunday for the third home game in eight days.
Latics are looking to revive their home form, which has been dented in the last week following back-to-back defeats to the Belgian Pro League side and Brighton and Hove Albion, but Coyle is confident of the mental strength of his group and its capability to find the right response.
He said: “The simple fact is that we need to pick ourselves up from that disappointment and get ready for another tough game in a long season. If you want to stop and feel sorry for yourself then you’re at the wrong club.
“The response I got from the players on Thursday following the Brighton defeat was brilliant, producing a performance of a high standard against a quality side, and that’s the effort we need again on Sunday.
“For what we put into the Zulte game I thought we deserved more. The performance was terrific; we got ourselves in front through a very good goal, and had numerous chances thereafter to see the game out but again not being clinical enough in-front of goal has come back to bite us.
“The equalising goal was a tough moment for young Lee Nicholls, but that’s the life of a goalkeeper – one mistake and the outcome can be severe. I told him after the game that he’s nothing to worry about, he’ll be selected again on Sunday against Derby, and we’ll all pick him up and make sure he’s ready to go again.
“It was heart-breaking for the lads because victory would have seen us qualify for the next round, and as it is now we go to Maribor in the final group game needing a win and hoping that Rubin Kazan can triumph in Belgium.”
Prior to his team’s Europa League fixture on Thursday, Coyle was able to complete the loan signing of Will Keane from Manchester United until January, a player he believes can add some much needed fire-power to his forward line:
“Will is a great addition to the squad and is someone we’ve been following for a while now,” said Coyle.
“I’ve got no doubt as to the quality he’ll bring to the rest of the group and the goal-scoring threat he will have on the pitch.”