Boss proud of hard-fought draw at high-flying Ipswich Town.
- “We had good shape and caused Ipswich problems” – Mackay reflects on 90 minutes.
- Praise for Ali Al Habsi on his first Sky Bet Championship appearance of the campaign.
- Gaffer hopes for more additions before the deadline.
Wigan Athletic manager Malky Mackay described his side’s display as fantastic after a battling and focused performance saw Latics come away from Ipswich Town with a 0-0 draw.
The Scot reflected on the game afterwards, telling Latics Player that he was pleased and that his players can take a lot of belief from the performance into their upcoming fixtures.
“It was a hard earned point against a side who have been terrific this season,” Mackay said. “To come to a tough place like Portman Road and put in a display like the one we have today is fantastic, it was hard to tell who was the team at the top and who was the team near the bottom today.
“Today’s performance gives great hope for this group of players going forwards.
“If you don’t have a very good shape against Ipswich, they end up grinding you down; we matched them and had to battle them all over the pitch.
“We had a good shape today and caused them problems sometimes, we absolutely earned our point.
“You’re going to see more and more of the players taking responsibility in the coming weeks and here they’ve shown just how committed they are.”
Ali Al Habsi’s return to the side, one of three changes made by Mackay from the 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town last time out, was praised by the Scot whilst he was also delighted to give first team experience to Sam Cosgrove, Jordan Flores, Matthew Hamilton and Josh Gregory who travelled with the squad whilst the former two made the bench.
“Ali showed great personality in his performance today, there was a calmness to him,” he explained. “He was rarely troubled, but what he had to do he did really well.
“He came out to claim a few fabulous crosses to take the pressure off his centre backs, he’s a big presence.
“I also hope our young players who travelled have enjoyed the experience, because the idea was to bring these young Academy players through and give them a taste of the first team.
“It’s also a good indicator for them to see just what it takes to play at this level; the resilience and the hardiness needed to play in the Championship.
“We had a couple from the Development Squad and a couple from the Under 18s, it’s a great experience for them and it can only benefit the football club in the future.”
With Monday’s Transfer Deadline drawing closer, Mackay is still hopeful of adding quality and extra numbers to his squad, though he will only add players he feels can show similar to desire to fight for the club in the way his players did today.
“We’re gradually reshaping the team and there is a transition going on at the football club,” Mackay continued. “I want people here who want to play at the club and have a long term future at the club, whether that’s on loan initially or on permanent deals I know we’ll bring in players who can replicate performances like today’s.
“There will be another couple coming in, and we’ll look to do the same in the summer. My main focus is to get players playing for Wigan Athletic who have that desire to be here.
“We can take a lot of confidence heading into the next game against Bournemouth. It’s been fine lines for us recently in terms of results and to come to Portman Road and play like we did should show the belief to the players that they can do it on a week to week basis.
“That’s the mentality I want to instil on them, and it seems to have shown here against Ipswich.”