Paul Cook reflects on his side's battling performance against Derby County, despite 75 minutes with 10 men.
- iFollow Latics - Paul Cook's reflection on Derby County.
- Latics battled to the last breath despite early sending off at the DW Stadium.
- "We come out of the game with a lot of pride." - Paul Cook.
Speaking to iFollow Latics following his side's 1-0 defeat to Derby County at the DW Stadium, Latics boss Paul Cook took a moment to explain a t-shirt he was wearing for his post-match press with the words 'Get Well Soon Alfie' across his chest.
"The t-shirts are for little Alfie Murphy, Peter Murphy's son. Peter is a coach in our Academy and someone we all know very well.
"The family have had some devastating news that Alfie has got a big fight with cancer to battle with. We all want to wish Peter, little Alfie and their family well and we'll stand strong by them through this."
Moving on to discuss his team's performance, Cook said he couldn't have asked for much more from his players as Latics battled with 10-men for 75 minutes following Kal Naismith's dismissal in the first half.
"We come out of the game with a lot of pride in the performance.
"It was a big decision to send Kal off and there was another big decision when Harry Wilson goes down easily in the box in the second half. The referee told us he slipped, but that's football.
"Derby are an excellent side let's make that clear, but our lads were magnificent and I can't ask for anything else from them.
"They gave every breath for the club, for myself and for themselves."
Jack Marriott's 21st minute header clinched the victory for the visitors, but Latics remained fully in the contest despite Derby's man advantage.
"We were continually in the game," Cook continued. "Derby didn't create a chance in the second half.
"Whilst we wish Frank (Lampard) and Derby well with their excellent players and team, we're very disappointed that on another day we might have just got the draw at the end.
"I think we showed a lot more than just fight and spirit. Derby have got so much quality in their side and they move the ball really quickly, but in the second half they didn't trouble us. Whether that was a plan by them I don't know, but we continually knocked at the door.
"The performance was very commendable and we can be very proud of our lads with that performance.
"If you take your eye off the ball for a split second in this league you can end up down to 10 men. To be fair to Derby they had a 10-15-minute spell in the first half when they had us absolutely all over the place.
"If they'd have scored a second goal in that period the game would have been gone, but we managed to reshuffle in the first half and come up with a new game plan to nullify them in the middle of the pitch and keep us honest with a threat.
"We started the game excellently and had a couple of half chances to actually take the lead. James Vaughan looked like he had a great chance and it had all the hallmarks of a good game, but unfortunately for us the sending off has a massive impact on the game, but that's for others to debate."