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14 August 2018

Paul Cook reflects on Latics' 3-1 defeat to Rotherham United in the Carabao Cup, drawing on the positives of performances within the team and young players collecting minutes on the pitch.

  • Watch: Paul Cook's post Rotherham United thoughts.
  • Latics boss praises Callum Connolly and Leo Da Silva Lopes in the Carabao Cup.
  • "Match minutes essential for partnership." - Paul Cook.

Speaking to iFollow Latics pitchside at the New York Stadium following his side's 3-1 defeat to Rotherham United in round one of the Carabao Cup, Paul Cook took positives from the performance and praised a number of his players for taking their opportunity well.

"We did really well in the game for long patches and we had some great opportunities in the game.

"We had some really strong performances in certain positions, but all-in-all we're disappointed with the result and the way we conceded the goals.

"It was great to give lads the opportunity to play and some of them did very well.

"In the modern day game you can't just turn up and throw lads together and expect partnership to work straight away. Brucey and Cedric Kipre have never played together, young Leo hasn't played a competitive game yet for us until tonight. I'm really pleased with the lads and we were very, very unfortunate to be on the end of that score line.

"We dominated for long spells in possession and we had good chances from great deliveries into the box. Any other day we would have got something out of the game.

"There's disappointment, but we wish Rotherham well in the next round.

"We conceded goals at poor times, but that's how it goes."

222 Latics supporters made the midweek trip across to Rotherham, with Cook thanking them for their travels and grateful of their understanding of his team's priorities this season.

"Great credit to the fans for travelling over tonight. They know that our priority is the league, the FA Cup and then the League Cup. The league is such a tough, repetitive competition. We're at home to Forest on Saturday and then away at Stoke next week.

"We need our fans, we really do. We're going into these tough games in the league now with Forest, Stoke and QPR. The schedule is very heavy and we need to pull together as we always have."

With a strong relationship off the pitch between fans, players and staff, Cook continued, saying how partnerships will continue to build on it.

"We've got to remain positive with the lads, get back on the training pitch and allow for the lads to work on forming partnerships. At first team level Cedric and Chey Dunkley must continue to build their partnership.

"Callum Connolly was excellent. He needs to get used to how we want to play the game, but I thought he was one of our brightest players on the night. Leo really impressed me out on the right side and I could go through the team talking about the positive aspects because tonight was all about giving them minutes on the pitch.

"Leo is going to have a bright future. He's a very confident kid who loves being on the ball. Once we get him in better areas on the pitch I think he'll do more damage. Right back wasn't his friend in the end and he was out on his feet by full time, but great credit to the young man."

Two other you gm

"It was great to get Joe (Gelhardt) and Jensen (Weir) onto the pitch. We wanted to bring them on a little bit earlier, but the important thing for the young boys is that they keep working hard and keep their habits right with Gregor and Chaddy (Nick Chadwick) down at Christopher Park and I'm sure they'll have a bright future within the club.

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