Boss proud after “special” first match as Wigan Athletic manager.
- “I thought the players gave us everything” – Mackay.
- This day will stay with me forever.
- Delighted to have Chris McCann back.
Latics boss Malky Mackay says his first game in charge of Wigan Athletic was a day he will never forget after he received a superb welcome from the home crowd during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough at the DW Stadium.
Shaun Maloney’s first-half free-kick gave Mackay’s side a half-time lead before Patrick Bamford levelled for high-flying Boro in a game Latics could well have won with a few late chances.
However, Mackay’s initial reflection was one of pride in the performance and also in the support he received.
“I’m really proud; proud to start here today but very proud of the performance, I thought they gave us everything,” Mackay said.
“The hairs on the back of my neck were up with the terrific welcome I got and I’ll be forever grateful for that, no matter what happens.
“My dad and my little boy were here today and, going forward, today will be forever special for the fact that the Wigan people and Wigan Athletic fans welcomed me into their town like that.”
Looking back on the game, Mackay was pleased with the performance of his players and he felt they were unlucky not to be rewarded with three points.
“Bearing in mind that we were playing against a top team in this division, and a team that has been on a very good run and been together for a good period, I thought we really played well today,” he added.
“We dominated in parts, had three or four terrific chances to win and limited them to very few chances on our goal.
“Emmerson Boyce had a chance with the header that he knows he should probably have done better with and Barney [Leon Barnett] had the one that hit the post and the scissor kick as well as Chris [McCann] with the one at the end that he blazes over.
“Overall I thought they worked very hard and, playing against a team of that level, I’ve got to be very happy.”
Reluctant to pick out individuals, Mackay did have praise for Maloney’s free-kick as well as the returning Chris McCann who started a Wigan Athletic game for the first time in eight months.
“You need X Factor players and players that can do something special,” the Scot continued. “It was a terrific run from Chris McCann [to win the free-kick], he burst through three of four times in the first-half in behind their midfield, as did Roger and Shaun, and Shaun had come in for a bit of rough treatment really.
“He took aim with his first free-kick and with the second one he got it right; it was a sublime free-kick and he’s got massive quality that’s something I know from looking at him from a far, it’s about making sure that comes out on the pitch.
“The amount of second balls Chris won in there today was phenomenal, especially for someone who has been out for such a long period of time to go out and put 90 minutes in and at the end still be running like that, it shows the quality he’s got and I’m delighted to have him back.”