EMMERSON Boyce has called on Latics fans to stick together following the side’s back-to-back home defeats to Brighton and Zulte Waregem.
Wigan let a 1-0 lead slip last night to go down 2-1 against Zulte. A win would have confirmed qualification to the knockout stages of the competition whereas a loss now means their fate lies in the hands of Rubin Kazan.
It was an 88th minute suckerpunch which cost Latics but in truth their second half performance was of a much lower standard than the first when they came out of the blocks flying.
Some fans expressed their discontent after the game but Boyce has urged the supporters to stick with them.
“It’s a test of characters from all of the players now and for all of the club,” he told the Evening Post.
“More importantly we need the fans to get behind us, obviously they’re disappointed but the only way it will help us if they get behind each and every player.
“It was a good turnout but we just need them to encourage the team more and get behind us.
“It’s disappointing. I thought we did enough in the first half to get more goals.
“They steal a goal just before half-time and it knocked us a bit back and we just couldn’t get going in the second half.
“Obviously they got a good strike at the end but it’s a bit disappointing from our point of view. We have to go to Slovenia and get a result.”
Both sides went all out for the win with Latics looking for a second goal when Waregem got their equaliser.
The Belgian side broke from a Wigan corner and Thorgan Hazard struck an effort which Lee Nicholls let through his fingertips.
“That’s one of our problems at the moment,” added Boyce. “The games are too end to end of us.
“We put a lot of energy in the game, especially in the first half and in the second half it might have caught up with us.
“At the end of the day, you can’t take it away from them, they’re good team and they scored a good goal at the end. For us, it’s a disappointing result and now we’ve got to do it the hard way but we’re still confident we can go to Slovenia and get a result and that’s what we need to do.
“I thought, especially in the first half, we created quite a lot of chances. I thought Powell did well and a lot of players did well but it was one of those games that didn’t quite go for us and I think that just sums up our season at the moment.
“We’re creating a lot of chances and not taking them. Fair play to Leon, he got his customary goal again but we’ve got to take our disappointment out of the game, focus on Sunday and kick on.”
Boyce has also called on his team-mates to make the DW Stadium a fortress again.
Before last Saturday’s defeat to Brighton, Latics were unbeaten at home but two losses in the row now means they need to put it right when Derby County come to town on Sunday.
“We had a good record at home before the weekend just gone so it shows we can make it a fortress again,” said Boyce.
“Every team has a blip in the season and we have to get over it now. It’s important to get our season back on track in terms of picking up the victories and getting back into the top six before there’s too much if a gap.
“We’ve got a good squad here with good players and we’ve got another player in from Manchester United and hopefully he can come in and help lift the low.
“We need a victory on Sunday and start off a good month in December where we have a lot of fixtures at home.”