EMMERSON Boyce has warned Wigan Athletic to cut out the sloppy starts that are threatening to derail their survival bid.
Latics once again found themselves behind the eight ball at Norwich on Sunday, conceding a dreadful opening goal with only 10 minutes gone to gift the home side the ascendancy.
A sliced clearance from Ali Al Habsi gave Norwich great field position, and a collective defensive switch-off from the throw-in afforded Simeon Jackson acres of space on the edge of the Wigan box.
Jackson’s cross looked meat and drink for Gary Caldwell, but the Wigan skipper waited for the ball to come to him which allowed Wes Hoolahan to steal in and stab home from close range.
Thankfully, Wigan managed to tighten up as Norwich went for the jugular, and found a deserved leveller through Victor Moses after the break.
The visitors even had chances to win the game, sparked by a magical cameo from Shaun Maloney, but Boyce admits they only had themselves to blame for failing to start with the same intensity with which they finished.
“For some reason we always seem to start games off slowly, and too many times we are gifting opponents a one-goal lead,” he told the Evening Post.
“I couldn’t tell you why – it’s a strange one and we have been doing it all season, which has really cost us.
“Sometimes we’ve not been able to get back into the game, but luckily this time we did and we showed what we can do.
“We just need to start converting our chances now when they do come along – and turn these draws into wins and get moving up the table.”
That said, Boyce was pleased with the way Latics bounced back from the previous week’s dismal defeat at home to Swansea to pick up what could yet turn out to be a priceless point.
“We were looking for a good response to Swansea, and we couldn’t really have got off to a worse start,” he added.
“It could have gone downhill after that, but we responded well to going behind, we settled in to the game and in the end we were disappointed not to get the win.
“We created some really good chances that on another day would have gone in.
“Obviously we had a point to prove after what had happened the week before, and the other scores on Saturday had put some more pressure on us with Bolton and Blackburn both winning.
“But the main thing is we didn’t lose – and West Brom on Saturday is another massive game for us.”