Gary Caldwell savours performance as Latics all-but secure promotion to the Sky Bet Championship with 4-1 demolition of Southend United at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
- “Back to our best”, says Gary Caldwell.
- Boss pleased with attitude as Latics blow the Shrimpers away in the first-half with three goals.
- Caldwell feels Latics’ goals wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Premier League.
A delighted Gary Caldwell lauded his players’ performance as they put four past Southend United at the DW Stadium on Saturday to all-but secure promotion to the Sky Bet Championship.
Latics’ 4-1 win, coupled with Walsall’s 4-0 defeat at Bradford City, strengthened Caldwell’s side’s grip on an automatic promotion spot with only two defeats for Latics, three Saddlers wins and a 22-goal swing able to stop Championship football from coming back to the DW Stadium next season.
Reflecting post-match with LaticsPlayer HD, Caldwell felt the timing of his side’s performance made it one of the best of his reign yet.
“I asked for a big performance from the players after the last two games and we got one,” Caldwell said. “I thought we were back to our best; we played on the front foot, we were aggressive, could have scored more goals and really showed why we were up there at the top of the league today.
“I think it was up there with our best performances of the season, especially because of the timing of it after last weekend and Tuesday night because questions were asked and we were under pressure.
“We came out with a fantastic attitude early on and really took the game to Southend and could have scored so many more goals than the four we did because we had so many opportunities with some fantastic play.
“We have got great spirit, great desire and great work ethic and they are all of the values you need to be successful. We have fantastic quality as well, though, and to play the way we do at times, it is an absolute joy to watch.
“Some of the play today and the goals as well were exceptional and wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Premier League.”
Every player involved turned out a sensational performance but it was Michael Jacobs who stood out with two assists and a goal.
Chris McCann got the ball rolling before two goals from Will Grigg made it 3-0 before-half with Jacobs adding the fourth early in the second-half.
And McCann and Jacobs both came in for praise from Caldwell.
“Michael was incredible; the fitness boys were saying that we needed to get him off after his recent injury but I said he was the best player on the park, the crowd will think I am mad if I do that,” Caldwell explained.
“He showed what he is all about today; his general play, picking it up between the lines, creating opportunities, scoring goals and he has been a big miss so it is great to have him back in his best form.
“I thought Chris was superb; he played on the outside of their midfield, it was something we worked on yesterday because of the space that Yanic [Wildschut] creates by hugging the touchline is huge and we felt Chris could get goals by playing in there and he was outstanding.
“He showed great energy by getting in the box and creating opportunities in the first-half and he thoroughly deserved his goal.”
With nothing confirmed as yet in terms of promotion, Caldwell says his side have still achieved nothing and he hopes to give fans a superb day out at Blackpool next weekend when Latics could all-but win the Sky Bet League One title with a win.
“I said to the players that we haven’t achieved anything yet and we won’t look at the league table until May 8th,” he added. “We go to Blackpool next week and we need a similar performance in front of a massive backing to push us on and hopefully we’ll give the fans a day out to remember.”