Boss assesses defeat to Wolves in final home fixture of the season.
- “We got it perfect for 25 minutes” – Caldwell.
- Scot feels side need to be better at creating clear-cut opportunities.
- Gary – “Fans took me back to Premier League days.”
Latics manager Gary Caldwell was disappointed to his side go down 1-0 to Wolves at the DW Stadium on Saturday as Benik Afobe’s first-half header proved the difference.
Caldwell’s side were dominant throughout the first-half and looked the most likely to open the scoring until Afobe nodded home from Bakary Sako’s set-piece.
“I’m obviously disappointed with the result because in the first-half I thought we were excellent; we started the game exactly how I asked the players to do,” Caldwell said.
“I changed the shape and we worked very hard on it during the week and they got it perfect for about 25 minutes and caused them a lot of problems with them causing us no problems and we knew that would happen with the three at the back for us against their two strikers.
“Then we lose a crazy goal from a set-piece that we don’t defend properly and that seems to be the story of our season.
“I don’t think they were in our box until that point; we were in total control of the game and the goal set us back for ten or 15 minutes.”
Latics made changes in the second-half in pursuit of an equaliser but failed to muster the clear-cut opportunities sufficient enough to break Tomasz Kuszczak’s clean sheet.
And Caldwell says that’s a facet of the game his side need to improve.
“I thought at the end of the first-half we regained our composure, started to control the game again, and had large possession in their half, without really threatening their goal,” he explained.
“In the second half, we changed it, tried to throw men on and go for it but the game became very open and a bit scrappy, in the situation we’re in we had to do that, though.
“I’ve said to the players that the effort and the application was there again and they carried out the game plan but without being as effective in both boxes as we’d like
“To win any game you need to defend and you need to score a goal and that was the only part of the game that we didn’t do today.
“I still think we can better at creating more clear-cut opportunities when we have that dominance in the game but again it’s something we’ll work on and we will get better at in the future.”
Latics’ hopes now depend on Rotherham United losing both of their final fixtures, Millwall failing to win at Wolves on the final day and themselves securing three points at Brentford.
And Caldwell says his side won’t give up, especially for the supporters who recreated an atmosphere that the Scot felt replicated those of the Premier League days.
“The first 25 minutes when we were really on the front foot, the atmosphere took me back to the Premier League days when I was playing,” Caldwell continued.
“I could feel that momentum coming and I’m disappointed we couldn’t get the result for them. We need them to keep backing us, I’m sure they can see progress and they’ll be a lot more by the first game on next season.
“We need a lot of results to go our way and we need to win at Brentford but while there is still hope then we’ll keep believing and working hard to take this club forward in the style of football we want.”