The first update of the summer from the gaffer as the squad return to training at Euxton.
- Paul Cook | The gaffer on day one of pre-season.
- 2018-19 achievements, thanking departing players and focusing on a new chapter.
- The first team squad set to head to training camp in La Cala, Spain.
Speaking to iFollow Latics on his squad's first day back for pre-season training, Paul Cook was delighted with the morale of his returning players ahead of the summer's preparations for a second consecutive season in the Sky Bet Championship.
"It's been a great summer," Cook began.
"Especially off the back of what we achieved last season. It would have taken a very different form if we hadn't, so for the lads to do it in such style in the end was perfect.
"We finished the season strongly and we started it in the same way. Everyone will have their own opinions on why the middle part of the season happened, but that's behind us now and we're back for the summer with the sun shining.
"It was very tough at times last season, especially when you look at the stats and compare what we did at home to away from home. You ask yourself questions like 'why did we conceded 44 goals away from home and only 20 at home?', it makes you look for reasons.
"My big thing now for the lads that are here this year is that they'll have learned a lot from last season. If we can make some astute signings in the transfer market then we can all look forward to a good season.
"The lads are back in now, there are a lot of smiling faces and the training ground looks magnificent. It'll change over the next few weeks with how intense training becomes."
So what's next for Latics... the gaffer continued:
"We're off to La Cala tomorrow for a training camp and the boys will work hard out there, that's for sure.
"We've got another week when we return and then we're straight into the matches.
"We've set up some great games. To have any Premier League team playing at the DW is fantastic. We know Everton will travel really well, it's their only fixture in England, so it'll be a big crowd.
"Burnley being one of my old clubs is a nice occasion, but the important thing is that they're two big challenges for us leading up to the first game against Cardiff City."
With the anticipation for summer transfer news increasing, Cook added:
"First and foremost, we've lost a lot of players. We wish all of the loan lads and the players who were previously here all the best. They all served the club really well.
"It's now a new chapter for our club and I think the fans will be watching with excitement now at what we're going to do.
"There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes and hopefully we can have something to announce very shortly.
"The young lads dipped their toes in thw water later on in the season and they joined us today for training. They had an oustanding year at the Academy right throughout the age groups.
"It's an exciting time for the academy kids and a big challenge for one or two of them to make that step into the first team."