Gaffer delighted for fans and players as ‘correct decisions’ bring Latics three points.
- Mackay delighted for fans and players.
- McClean goal one of the best seen for a while.
- Game plan worked perfectly as Latics switched to 3-5-2.
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Speaking after the Boxing Day, 2-0 victory at Elland Road against Leeds United, Wigan Athletic manager Malky Mackay said he was delighted for the fans and his players, as Latics picked up their first victory under the 44-year-old.
“I’m more delighted for our fans who have travelled here on Boxing Day and paid the money that they have paid, for a journey which isn’t always the best,” said Mackay.
“I’m delighted that they’ve seen a performance and a result.
“I’m also delighted for our players, because so far since I’ve been here they’ve been beaten by fine margins and they absolutely deserved a win for the amount of effort they put in.”
Mackay has praised the efforts of his players over his first four weeks in charge, but says their performance in the 2-0 win had that extra ingredient.
“The players always put their utmost into matches, but the difference today was correct decision making. That’s what winning games in this league is all about, if we make those correct decisions consistently from now on, then we’ll be in good shape.”
Latics took the lead inside the first 11 minutes when Marc-Antoine Fortune set James McClean on his way down the left wing, with the Republic of Ireland international’s cross being chested into Liam Cooper’s own goal. McClean followed that up in the second half with a thumping goal of his own, and Mackay sang out the superlatives about both.
“The first goal was great work from James because he gave the guy almost a five yard head start and then beat him by five yards. He made his own luck their and if the defender doesn’t put it into his own net then we had Don Cowie arriving in the box.
“The second goal is as good a goal as I’ve seen in a while. I’ve looked back at it and there are 10 passes that work the ball patiently and culminated in James’ strike. There were about six players involved in it, as good team goal as I’ve seen in a long time.”
Latics changed their set-up for the trip to Yorkshire, with Mackay explaining the decision.
“We had a look at their shape and saw the way they played, so we decided to go with a 3-5-2.
“We wanted to hurt them in certain areas and the formation change worked. Leeds changed their formation two or three times throughout the match and I thought we handled that very well.
“I thought we defended very well, especially considering they brought in three physical players to try and challenge us in the box.
“We withstood 15 minutes of pressure at the start of both halves, we knew that was going to happen having looked at how they play. We knew that if we were compact and disciplined we would come away from Elland Road with all three points.
“On top of that we countered well, James McClean caused them problems all afternoon. His pace was exceptional, but also the amount of work he put in right to the last minute.”