Boss full of praise for effort in 0-0 draw at Pride Park, though acknowledges his side could have won the game.
- Wigan Athletic manager Warren Joyce reflects on his side’s 0-0 draw at Derby County.
- Praise for resilient players from Joyce.
- “Tactically I thought we were good today,” says Joyce.
Reflecting post-match with Latics PlayerHD, Joyce acknowledged his side perhaps should have come away from Pride Park with all three points.
“It was a fantastic effort; I am probably boring people by saying it, but there haven’t been many occasions since I have been here where I have been disappointed with the effort and commitment of the players.
“Tactically I thought we were good today; produced some clever bits of play and first-half should have been two or three goals up.
“It should have been three points, but I said to the players at half-time that there were a couple of opportunities where on the pitch they expressed their disappointment following a missed chance and as a result we nearly got done on counter-attacks.
“You can’t feel sorry for yourselves in football or in life in general, you have to get on with things and make it go your way.”
Pleased to see his side keep a first clean sheet since their draw at Barnsley in November, and become the first side to stop Derby from taking all three points on their own patch since Brentford in October, Joyce has now called on his side to become more ruthless.
“We have approached the game in the same way as we always have in that we have got a plan to try and stop the opposition and obviously try and hurt them too,” he added.
“Hurting the opposition is obviously a lot harder than stopping them because you need them bits of quality, bits of individual skill and mistakes from the opposition. It’s why players who make those things happen go for millions of pounds because they do that thing regularly.
“As a team, we have to be a bit more ruthless, I have said that before, because in this recent spell of games we could have easily scored two or three more goals in each of them. If that had happened, we would be in a completely different situation. So
it’s about maintaining that, trying to be more ruthless and trying to enjoy possession more whilst displaying that quality we have shown in glimpses in all of the games since I have been here.”
Will Grigg missed arguably Latics’ best chance of the game in the first-half when he intercepted and went through one-on-one with Scott Carson.
And Joyce said that, despite the missed chance, the Northern Ireland international should take a lot of praise for his efforts in the Midlands today.
“Will was a different class today; his attitude to work, lead the line, produce some clever bits of play and also to take on board some instructions and tactical things as well,” Joyce explained.
“Strikers go through patches where they score loads of goals and don’t think about it and I suppose last year that might have flown in the net without thinking about it. To be fair to him, it’s a good save from Scott Carson and he has to move on.
“It certainly doesn’t mean he can’t score in this league or won’t start because his effort and intelligence for the team was crucial today.”
It’s no secret Latics are short on numbers at the moment and Joyce was full of praise for a number of his players who got through the game despite illness.
“Shaun MacDonald did great for us; he’s a great kid, we have missed him during that time he’s been out,” he continued.
“Not only was he not 100% fit, but he also had a bit of a bug, as did Max Power and Andy Kellett, and we’re already limited on numbers but they’ve gone out and put themselves on the line. They dug deep today, deserved a point and were unlucky not to get three.
“They have to be like that; in football you’ve got to be able to do that and pick yourself and go again. There was no hiding place out there, they put a tremendous amount of effort in and the players have now got to look after themselves and go again on Monday.”
Looking at Monday’s game against Huddersfield, Joyce is hoping his players can hit their limits to find a result against the Terriers.
“There are tired legs,” Joyce continued. “I have tried to instil into the players that the mind tells them they’re tired but the body sometimes doesn’t really know what you can achieve.
“I have believed that for a long time, with every team I have ever taken charge of, that the players can achieve anything if they drive themselves on.”