Forward looks back on draw and takes the positives from Latics’ response to an early set back.
- Better team performance against Blackburn.
- James McClean proving a menace to defenders.
- 100% commitment required to turn things around.
Martyn Waghorn believes Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers at the DW Stadium can be the catalyst for Latics to dig themselves out of the bottom three of the Sky Bet Championship.
The striker, who was making his first start since early November, said that the reaction to the early set back from Corry Evans’ 15th minute goal was just what the team needed following recent results.
“We reacted well to the set back by pushing on and playing the majority of the game in their half,” said Waghorn.
“We didn’t let our heads drop and we continued to stick to the game plan which allowed us to create a good few chances.
“That can only be a positive because we know we’ve needed to create more chances recently and we got the reward for it from a great finish by James McClean.
“The week before at Birmingham City we didn’t react at all and that’s why we found ourselves 2-0 down. It could have even been more in all honesty, which is why our reaction this weekend against Blackburn was much better, we learned from our mistakes at St. Andrew’s.”
The 24-year-old continued:
“It was a much better team performance against Blackburn than any we’ve been putting in recently.
“It was a fiery game, local derbies are always like that, but it was even more so because the boys know how much we’ve got to play for at the moment.
“We all care and we’re all working hard to turn this around, for the fans and for each other. We’ve got to be 100% committed and I think we showed that against Blackburn.
“Everyone worked hard in their roles and it’s a positive point to build on, but unfortunately we couldn’t find a winning goal.”
James McClean’s header just after the hour mark provided the equaliser for Latics, marking his fifth goal of the season, with Waghorn believing his new strike partner will be crucial in the coming months.
“Jamesy is a great player who you know will work hard every single minute of the game. He’s got great qualities and I think his physicality is causing defenders problems in the new forward role he’s taken up.
“I’m not as quick as he is, but I’ll be determined to work just as hard with him and hopefully we can do a job upfront, create a good partnership and get the club out of the problems it’s in.”
With the equaliser coming from a set piece, Waghorn is hoping Latics can play to their strengths more often in that department, adding:
“Shaun’s technique from dead balls is top drawer. Jamesy used his power and height to score a great header, and that’s what it has to be about sometimes, when you can’t get a goal from open play then set plays can be crucial in this league.
“We need to use that strength more in the coming games because we’ve got the assets to hurt teams in those situations.”