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11 March 2019

The gaffer looks ahead to Tuesday's Sky Bet Championship trip to Ewood Park.

  • iFollow Latics: Paul Cook pre-Blackburn Rovers.
  • The manager's reflection on decisions at Reading on Saturday.
  • Squad updates and a look ahead to Tuesday's clash with Tony Mowbray's side.

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Paul Cook on Reading

"I was very level headed after the game and I spoke to the referee in his room for 10 minutes. It's been reported back to us and we've been complimented on how we conducted ourselves.

"Before we put the Reading game away and focus on Blackburn, there has to be an outcome to make the situation better, but unfortunately in football there isn't an outcome to make it better.

"We've been led to believe that all three Reading goals shouldn't have stood. It's big to take when all three goals go against you especially late on. What happened in the 88th minute is not correct. You can debate football for as long as you like. You can debate tactics, formations, managers, substitutions and anything else, but when a goal is scored against you that shouldn't be allowed to stand, it has such an impact on the game.

"I want to see referees backed and improved so that they can get better. Officials will have bad days just as managers and players do, but there's no place in the game to call referees out in public.

"We played really well, it's as good as we've played for a while and it wasn't far off a complete performance.

"We conceded in the 45th minute to what we now know shouldn't have been a free kick, we then conceded in the 89th minute from what was a drop ball and then we conceded seven minutes into stoppage time which if you watch it back there's such a clear foul on Jonas Olsson.

"We must move on and ahead to the Blackburn game because come the end of the season we want to achieve what we set out to achieve at the start of the season and within that we know we need to win football games.

"A result on Saturday would have been fantastic for us as a club and the feel good factor. Unfortunately we haven't had that injection of confidence, but we have to find that from ourselves."

Paul Cook on Nick Powell, Gavin Massey and Michael Jacobs

"I've enjoyed working with all of the players I've had at this club, not just the three mentioned, but those three have gone a long way to being involved in a lot of our better performances as a team.

"The disappointing thing I have to tell the fans is that these players have to be managed, certainly Massey and Powell.

"On Saturday I didn't want to take those two off the pitch, I wanted them to stay on because we were playing so well. That's not disrespectful to any subs I bring on or that don't play, but the momentum of the game was good. Unfortunately for Powelly and Gavin with the games coming thick and fast and the history of their injuries, managing their recoveries is part and parcel of what we have to do."

Paul Cook on bouncing back

"We have to be positive of course we do, we're Wigan Athletic.

"We travelled in good numbers to Reading. I looked up to our supporters after Reading's third goal, I saw them all get up and leave and I felt every single emotion they were going through.

"That's what football does to us all. The journey home was terrible for everyone, but we have a fight on our hands to stay in the division and I believe together it is one we will win.

"I enjoyed our performance on Saturday and the first thing I said to the players was that as hurt as they feel, if they play like that in the rest of the games then we won't have a problem staying in the division.

"They were a credit to themselves on Saturday with their discipline in such a volatile environment on the pitch and the sidelines. The way we conducted ourselves speaks volumes for us all at the club."

Paul Cook on Blackburn Rovers

"Blackburn have had an outstanding season. They've reached a points tally very, very quickly, but I'm sure Tony Mowbray will be wanting to get a few more wins before the season ends because he's as competitive as we all are.

"The points tally they have is a very strong one. Every team in the league has different unbeaten runs or winless runs at this level. Blackburn's hasn't come at a great time for them, but their good work earlier in the season means they have a healthy points tally.

"We respect Blackburn a lot, we've had great competitive games with them since I've been at the club and I'm sure Tuesday night will be no different."

Paul Cook on Team News

"It's been a tough week and it was a tough journey home for everyone on Saturday.

"We always come in a bit later on a Monday, have a bit of lunch and regroup properly.

"Our supporters will know that we make team selection decisions based on what is right and correct. What we want with the remaining games to come is to have our best players fit for as many games as possible.

"We all know the importance of every game, so we have to make decisions with the club's best interests at heart.

"Jonas Olsson and Antonee Robinson came in on Saturday and did superbly well, so they have only given us additional options from what we had.

"Unfortunately we've been missing Anthony Pilkington in recent weeks. Anthony has had a problem with his knee, but I've been updated this morning and he's going to be back out on the grass this week, with a small chance of a return to the squad at the weekend."

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