Uwe Rosler on FA Cup responsibility, Ben Watson and returning to his first English club Manchester City.
It’s a big weekend for Wigan Athletic as they look to complete an FA Cup double over last year’s beaten finalists Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Not only is it a special occasion with Latics having triumphed at Wembley Stadium in May, but it also sees Uwe Rosler return to the club who gave him his first break in English football.
Rosler spent emotional years with City at Maine Road, and receive the full backing of the club’s supporters after departing, but he says all emotions must be put aside on Sunday, with responsibilities to Latics being his main priority.
“I have a responsibility to my Chairman, to my players, to my staff and to our supporters to go out there on Sunday and focus on what could be a very important result for this football club.
“I have to try and take away the emotions of returning to my first club in English football, and in doing that I have to make the right decisions and hopefully they can pay off for us.
“There aren’t many managers who will receive a warm welcome from both sets of supporters, but I have a special relationship with Manchester City, and it will be nice to go back.
“The reception I get is not the important part, our supporters will be as ferocious as ever and their passion will be as clear as ever, it’s going to be an amazing atmosphere.”
A strong Man City side fresh off the back of their Capital One Cup triumph await Rosler and his team, but the manager says he fully understands what Latics are going to come up against.
“I’ve always said I wanted to defend this trophy valiantly.
“When you reach the last eight of the FA Cup no opponent is easy, and they certainly don’t get much harder that Man City away.
“We must show ourselves as worthy opponents and make our supporters proud.
“There will be a very strong following and we need to make sure that they go away from the game with pride and in the FA Cup you never know what might happen, just look at what happened last season.”
With important games in the bid for promotion from the Sky Bet Championship, Rosler said there may have to be a few changes to his team, adding:
“It’s a showcase game, but at the same time we treat it like any other, because the most important match is always the one that lies ahead.
“We should also have in mind the teams we’ll play against next Wednesday and next Saturday.
“We want to be competitive on all fronts and to do that my players have to share the workload between them.
“Our team has had continuity in the last couple of games with very few changes, but we will have to make changes this weekend.
“Maintaining our momentum from the league games is very important, especially when we’re going away to a team like Manchester City.”
Latics will of course be without FA Cup hero Ben Watson this weekend after the broken leg he suffered against Barnsley at the DW Stadium last month, but Rosler said the team will be thinking of the midfielder when they step out onto the Etihad pitch.
“Ben has been somewhat our talisman in this competition so far this season.
“He’s been involved in every round and scored in the last two rounds, it’s appropriate really considering the impact he made in the cup final last year.
“Ben has been a crucial player for us, we’ll miss him and any team would miss a player like Ben Watson.
“All credit has to go to my players for the way they have reacted to the injury, and credit has to go to those who have stepped in.
“We can’t afford to have excuses about players not being available for games, but we’ll be thinking about Ben a lot that’s for sure.”