Boss shares praise all around as Latics make it ten Sky Bet League One fixtures without defeat.
- “It was a really hard-working team performance.” – Caldwell.
- Praise for goals from Gary as Pearce notches from set-piece and Jacobs finishes team move.
- Caldwell also pleased that switch to four at the back worked.
Caldwell praised his side’s qualities at both ends of the pitch as goals from Jason Pearce and Michael Jacobs secured the three points and extended Latics’ unbeaten run in Sky Bet League One to ten games.
“The pressure was on and the boys went out and produced a really hard-working team performance,” Caldwell said. “At times we were great going forward, at times we defended well and we had to show all our strengths to get over the line.
“Second-half, Rochdale put us under a lot of pressure, without creating a great deal; it was mainly shots from distance.
“We scored our second goal at a really important time when they were having their most dominant spell in the game with a great counter attack.”
Pearce was making his first League One start since September’s 1-1 draw at Oldham Athletic and opened the scoring after 15 minutes before Jacobs finished off a nice team move on the hour mark and Caldwell was pleased with both.
“I put Jason Pearce into the team for his defensive qualities and I think he showed them throughout the game,” he added. “For him to pop up with a goal is a bonus as well. It is our first clean sheet away from home and I think it is no coincidence that he was back in the team and we got that.
“It was a great team move; it was something we have been good at in recent weeks without getting goals from it because that final pass or final finish wasn’t quite there.
“Yanic [Wildschut] showed his pace and power to get forward and he picked a great pass out for Michael [Jacobs] who showed composure to finish, and we can score more goals like that, it was pleasing to see.”
Caldwell started the game with four at the back, in contrast to what seems his favoured five, and the move paid off, though Latics had to replace Reece James early on with Chris McCann after the former Manchester United man picked up a knock to the ankle.
“Playing four at the back was something we looked at,” Caldwell explained. “They throw men forward and I think we saw that more as the game went on, they chased it and they like to get three men up so we wanted to deal with that and also have more freedom at the other end of the pitch as well.
“Reece is OK, it was just a kick; there was no twist but it was right on his ankle and he was struggling to run so we just felt with Chris McCann being on the bench, and being very able in that position, that we could bring him on and give us that cover when Reece wasn’t in full flow.”