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26 December 2016

Boss rues luck, decisions and individual errors as Latics lose 3-2 at fellow strugglers Rotherham United.

  • Wigan Athletic manager Warren Joyce reflects on 3-2 defeat to Rotherham United.
  • Joyce says he shares and acknowledges the fans’ frustration and disappointment.
  • “Second balls cost us last week and it was the same again today,” Joyce.
Wigan Athletic manager Warren Joyce cut a frustrated figure as his side lost 3-2 in a crucial match at the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship at Rotherham United on Boxing Day.

Latics trailed 3-0 at half-time, before goals from Yanic Wildschut and Jordi Gomez gave Joyce’s side hope in the closing stages of grabbing at least a draw, though it proved too little too late at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Reflecting post-match with Latics PlayerHD, Joyce said:

“I’m obviously bitterly disappointed to go in 3-0 down at half-time.

“It’s down to individual mistakes; the first goal is just a lack of concentration really where the player is not marked tightly enough after the ball drops in the box from a miss-hit shot that’s going wide.

“The second goal is a massive deflection and then I thought we were really poor for a spell just before half-time as they got the third in more unfortunate circumstances. 

“Second-half I thought we come out and had a real go but we can’t give ourselves mountains to climb every week.

“It was second balls that cost us last week and it was second balls that cost us again today.”

Joyce felt a number of decisions went against his side on the day, with Craig Davies seeing a goal chalked off for offside in the first-half when he looked to have been onside, whilst Will Grigg was denied a late leveller after Michael Jacobs was adjudged to have handled in the build-up.

“I thought we were good value in the second-half to get at least a draw and the goal in the last few minutes that’s disallowed for hand ball, I don’t think Michael Jacobs has touched it,” he explained.

“There were other opportunities and a lot of good things about our play in the second-half.

“I thought Craig Davies was onside for his goal in the first-half and there was one just prior to that too where Griggy [Will Grigg] was onside and got flagged from a ball through.

“They say you make your own luck in football and when you look at the goals today with the deflections and the way the goals have gone in, we’ve certainly had our share of bad luck.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, though, we must dust ourselves down and go again.”

Joyce felt that the freedom and more expansive football his side played was good in the second-half, but came far too late at 3-0 down.

“I can’t really fault the commitment of the lads but we need to have more freedom in our play,” he added. “When we’re three goals down we play with freedom but we need to do that when it’s level and really go for it against teams, score early and then drive the game on.”

Joyce did have praise for Andy Kellett, who again featured at right back after his recent return to fitness.

And the boss also had a positive update on his fitness after he went off with what initially looked like a hamstring issue in the second-half, stating the youngster just had cramp.

“Andy has done great; he is someone I knew from before I came here but he hadn’t played any football for four months up until now,” Joyce continued.

“He has had to fill in at right back and he has helped in leading the fightback in the second-half up until when he had to come off with cramp.”

And Joyce finished with a strong message to Wigan Athletic’s fans, stating he shares their frustration and anger.

“The fans will be frustrated, that’s human nature,” he said. “There’s nobody more frustrated than I am; this is my job, my career and I’ve come into the football club to try and help in the best way I can with the cards I have been dealt. 

“I am trying to organise a side and get them to win games; we’ve had a few injuries and we’re lightweight in midfield as a result.

“The fans won’t be more frustrated than me because I have worked for a long time in football and I have clear views and philosophies on how I want to play the game. I knew it wasn’t going to be a quick process.

“I am a fighter, I am determined, I don’t expect the supporters to be happy – I am not happy with the situation. I thought the support, in spite of being 3-0 down at half-time, was good again, and all we can do is hope they stay with us in the fight because that’s what it is going to be between now and the end of the season.”

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