Boss praises his players as they fight to earn another point following controversial dismissal of captain Craig Morgan.
- Caldwell “frustrated” with red card and lack of consistency with decisions.
- Scot praises his side’s character and determination to fight for the point against the Saddlers.
- Praise for debutants Jussi Jaaskelainen, Yanic Wildschut and Donald Love.
Gary Caldwell cut a frustrated figure after Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Walsall at the DW Stadium as Craig Morgan’s controversial second-half red card tilted the flow in a game Latics began to take control of with substitute Yanic Wildschut and Will Grigg missing good opportunities.
Caldwell’s frustration came from the lack of consistency from referee Andy Haines after he booked the Saddlers’ James O’Connor in an almost identical incident in the first-half.
“I have seen the red card back; it is very similar to the incident in the first half when we had a man brought down in the middle of the area and like us they had a man on the cover, they got a yellow, though, and we got a red,” Caldwell explained. “We are finishing with ten men a lot recently and that is very frustrating.”
“Fair play to the lads on the park, though, they showed great willingness to work for the clean sheet and get the point that was very hard earned in the end.”
Reflecting on the match overall, and the performance of his players, Caldwell was pleased with his side’s fighting spirit as they kept a clean sheet and extended their League One DW Stadium unbeaten run to six games.
“It was an exciting game for the fans that were here,” he added. “I thought we played well, I thought we should have been in front in the game before we got the man sent off but then when that happened I thought we showed great character again and great determination to hold on for the point in the end.
“Just before the red card was probably our most dominant spell in the game; Yanic [Wildschut] came on and caused them a lot of problems with his pace and power and the goalkeeper made a good save from his chance. Will [Grigg] also missed a couple of opportunities at a point when we should have took the lead in the game and we would have deserved that, at that time of the game, and probably gone on to win.”
Caldwell reserved praise for three Latics debutants following the draw with the Saddlers as Jussi Jaaskelainen, Yanic Wildschut and Donald Love all made their first Wigan Athletic appearances.
“I thought Yanic and Donald [Love] were excellent when they came on,” Caldwell continued. “It was very difficult for both of them because they only arrived on Thursday night, trained for the first time on Friday, and were thrown in off the bench. It was a difficult circumstance for both of them, they worked hard for the team.”
“Jussi was excellent too; when we needed the composure and the calmness from the goalkeeper to kill the game, he used all his experience and it was a good clean sheet for him.”
Latics could have won it late on as Michael Jacobs was denied in the 90th minute when one-on-one with Walsall keeper Neil Etheridge and, though the point protects Caldwell’s side’s unbeaten run at home, he is keen for his side to win more games and accumulate more points.
“We went to 4-4-1 and felt we were just hanging on towards the end, we had to do something to keep their men in defence back so we kept Michael up with Yanic and that caused problems and gave us that one opportunity that we couldn’t quite take,” Caldwell said. “We are proud of our home record, we want to keep it going but we want to win games and we know in the last three games we have dropped points that we should have got.
“We will keep working hard now to try and turn these draws into victories.”