Caldwell reflects on defeat to Preston North End on Friday evening.
- Gary Caldwell: “I can’t fault the effort but the finishing has to be more clinical”
- Boss frustrated by refereeing for Preston’s goal as his side again came away from a game they dominated with no points.
- Praise for Nathan Byrne on first Latics start.
Wigan Athletic manager Gary Caldwell spoke of his disappointment for Latics’ supporters on Friday evening as his side lost 1-0 against Preston North End at Deepdale.
Reflecting post-match with the club’s official website, Caldwell said he couldn’t fault his players for their effort and commitment, though he acknowledged they need to start showing more quality and ultimately pick up more results with their winless run now stretching to seven games.
“I am disappointed for the fans of course,” Caldwell said. “As I said before the game, these matches are for the fans and I thought they came out in great numbers to support the team so I am disappointed for them.
“They saw a team that gave absolutely everything again, played some great football, but just couldn’t get back in a game that the referee gave Preston a goal start in.
“It was difficult; I can’t fault the effort and the way we played but the finishing at times has to be more clinical.
“I have to look at the performance but ultimately football is about winning and we haven’t done that again which is very disappointing and we have to work hard to do something about that.”
An incident in the build up to Jordan Hugill’s opener for Preston left Caldwell frustrated and he criticised the lack of a decision from the referee.
“The referee’s lack of involvement in the goal frustrates me because the linesman – who was next to me - clearly sees a push and he says that in his microphone to the referee but then the referee doesn’t give it,” he explained. “If that happens, then we should do away with the linesman and the fourth official because it is a clear push, the Sky Sports cameras will show that, and it is a disappointment.
“I don’t think it had a bad effect on us as a side, though, if anything it woke us up and really got us playing. We were excellent in our possession at times, and possession that really hurt them at times as we created good opportunities and cut them open but lacked that quality and belief in the final third and that comes from not winning games.
“We have to shake that off, keep believing in what we are doing, and we will start winning games and start turning this around very quickly.”
Caldwell now wants his side to continue believing in their philosophy and not panic after a slow start to the season, stating fine margins could make all the difference for Latics in their pursuit of a second win of the campaign.
“We can’t dwell on it,” Caldwell continued. “It is football and every coach, player or manager will have been through runs where not a lot goes right for you and you have to get over that.
“The way to get over it is to work hard, keep believing in what you’re doing and not go away from that because that is easy to do when you’re not winning games everyone can say this is wrong and that’s wrong.
“As a staff, we work very hard and we look over the games with the players and there isn’t a lot going wrong, it is small things we need to fix and when we do that I believe we’ll go on a run, we’ll win games and see where that will take us.”
Caldwell issued a rallying call to the supporters who have back him superbly since he signed for the club six years ago as a player, saying their support back at the DW Stadium on Tuesday night against Wolves will be crucial.
“The supporters were brilliant tonight,” he said. “They always get behind us in the big games and come out in their numbers and in times like this we need them more than ever and we need them to stick by the players.
“On Tuesday night, we need them out in numbers and in voice to get behind the players and push them on to get that win that will hopefully take us into the season and get our season really up and running.”
Nathan Byrne will hope to make his first DW Stadium start on Tuesday evening when his former club Wolves come to Wigan, and Caldwell spoke of his delight at the former Tottenham Hotspur youth’s performance on his first Latics start in the defeat at Deepdale.
“Nathan is a top player; that’s why we were desperate to get him,” Caldwell added. “Right back probably isn’t really the place where he can show his main strengths but I thought he defended really well and then on top of that he got forwards and did really well.
“I was delighted with his performance, as I was with most of the players, but in the end it wasn’t good enough and I’ll take responsibility for that and make sure we do something about it.”