Boss waxes lyrical about his side’s first-half performance as they defeat Blackburn Rovers 3-0 at the DW Stadium.
- Caldwell: “You won’t see a better first-half performance than ours across the country.”
- Gary says he loves watching his side when they produce performances like 3-0 win over Owen Coyle’s Blackburn Rovers.
- Praise for “fantastic” Nick Powell.
Caldwell watched on as his side picked up where they left off last season and took control on their own patch from the off with all of his players involved in creating opportunities.
Reflecting post-match, Caldwell stated he used some of last season’s matches in the build up to inspire his players, a move that paid off with the Scot suggesting there won’t have been a better first-half display from any side across English football.
“I showed clips from some games last season prior to the match,” Caldwell explained. “Off the top of my head we used Bury at home and Swindon home and away – games that I felt we were really on the front foot – and I said to the players that I love watching us play when we’re like that.
“We’re aggressive with and without the ball and for 45 minutes I don’t think there will be many better displays across the country, even in the Premier League.
“I thought we were outstanding with the ball, when we didn’t have it we hunted it down really quickly and won it back in good areas and perhaps the only disappointment was that it should have been four or five by half-time.
“That’s what you work hard all week for; to perform like that, to win a game of football and send everyone away happy.
“It’s good to have that feeling, we’ll enjoy it for five or ten minutes, and then we’ll start thinking about tomorrow’s training and Tuesday night’s game.”
In the newspaper ratings, there won’t be a Latics player who will take less than an eight out of ten for their performance at the DW in what was a cohesive group effort.
However, Powell – on his first appearance of the season and first competitive match for Latics since his 2013-14 loan spell – showed how much quality he brings to Caldwell’s scored, curling a sublime free-kick for Latics’ second and producing a midfield display that brought back memories of some of his best during his first spell with the club.
“That’s what Nick can do when he has got his mind on it and he’s right,” Caldwell added. “He’s been first class since he came in, worked really hard with the fitness coaches – credit to them for getting him fit – and I’d probably say he’s working at a fitness level of about 60% at the moment and yet you saw today what he could produce.
“We need to keep working with him, he needs to keep working hard and producing displays like that because he’s a fantastic player to watch.”
Earlier in the day, Caldwell added Shaun MacDonald to his group from AFC Bournemouth.
The Welsh international, who has signed a two-year-deal, will be eligible for Tuesday’s game with Birmingham City at the DW Stadium and his new manager said he was delighted to have acquired the former Swansea City man.
“He’s somebody we’ve looked at all summer,” he said. “He’s come from a club with a similar way of playing to us so he understands the control of the ball in possession football.
“On top of that, he’s a great lad and a fantastic character that will add to a great squad.”