Boss reflects on 1-0 success over Rochdale on Easter Monday and praises match-winner Conor McAleny.
- “Never easy to play two games in three days,” – Caldwell.
- McAleny’s all-round performance “brilliant”, says Gary.
- Praise for Man of the Match Stephen Warnock after six-point Easter weekend.
Substitute Conor McAleny scored the only goal of the game in the second-half as Latics eventually found a way through Dale’s stubborn backline following the dismissal of their captain Ian Henderson in the first-half.
Reflecting post-match with LaticsPlayer HD, Caldwell said:
“I am absolutely delighted; it is never easy to play two games in three days and no team has made any game easy for us in this league so far this season.
“It is very difficult; every team gives their all and pushes you right to the limit and against Rochdale we had to work really hard for a win.
“The sending off can work in many different ways both for and against you; it can galvanise the ten men, it can give them something to fight for and hang on to and in the second half Rochdale made it very difficult.
“I thought just before the goal was our best spell because we were patient, we moved the ball quickly, had good width and had a lot of attacking players on the pitch.
“When we went 1-0 up, it was then difficult to absorb the pressure that they put us under because they had nothing to lose at that point.”
McAleny has missed Latics’ last three games due to injury but his persistence paid off in the second-half when he bagged his third goal in just seven appearances since joining the DW Stadium from Goodison Park in February.
“Conor was excellent; we asked him to play as a wing back even though that is something he isn’t used to doing but because we had the extra man we could afford to do that,” Caldwell explained.
“He created opportunities, he could have scored another couple and his all-round game, considering he has been out for a few weeks, was brilliant.”
Jason Pearce was another player returning from injury and the former Leeds man and Man of the Match Stephen Warnock also came in for praise from their manager.
“Jason was superb,” he added. “He is whole-hearted, gives everything and is somebody that is very important not just with the way he plays but with his character amongst the dressing room.
“We took him off as a gamble to get more attacking players on the pitch and then that was what made it more difficult late on when we were put under pressure and we had less defence-minded players on the pitch.
“Stephen is incredible, at his age to perform in the way he has in the last two matches is the sign of a top professional who is somebody that everyone in the dressing room, especially the younger players, can look up to and learn from.”
Although he admitted his side should have won by more, Caldwell was delighted with another three points and is now pleased that his players will be able to recover ahead of Saturday’s trip to Shrewsbury Town.
“We have to be calm, we understand what is at stake, but we have to be calm and finish teams off and we could have scored three or four more goals,” Caldwell continued.
“It doesn’t matter if you win 4-1 or 1-0, it is still three points.
“We understood the magnitude of our last two games and to come out winning them both is excellent so we will recover from this difficult period and look forward to next week.”