Caldwell: ‘4-4-2 would kill Will’

Will Grigg
Will Grigg

Gary Caldwell insists Wigan Athletic’s current problems would not be solved by the simple addition of a second striker - because it would cramp the style of top scorer Will Grigg.

Latics entertain Wolves on Tuesday night looking for only a second win of the campaign, having dropped to the bottom of the Championship over the weekend.

With a testing trip to Brentford up next on Saturday, Latics could certainly do with a morale-boosting victory over Walter Zenga’s Wolves.

But Caldwell says it’s not as simple as fielding an extra striker - as a number of fans have suggested on social media - to ensure more goals, and points.

“Everyone has different views on the game - that’s the first thing,” the Latics chief recognised.

“From the fan all the way through to the manager, everyone has different views.

“And you have to accept that everyone has their own opinion, and you have to take that opinion.

“As the manager, I have to pick a team and a formation based on what I see every single day.

“I see the players every single day, I know their character, I see how they interact with each other.

“I have to then pick the team based on that, and the personnel we have available - and I feel it is right.

“I feel Will Grigg is someone who, when he does play with a partner, doesn’t really feed off that partner well.

“He needs wingers, he needs crosses, he needs a No.10 behind him to supply him with balls to match the clever runs that he makes.

“To play Will Grigg up front with a partner, which we have tried on occasion, doesn’t really suit him, to his best.

“We also have very good wingers at the football club, but to play with two strikers and two wingers, you have to play 4-4-2 - that’s pretty obvious.

“Again, I don’t think that suits us.

“To play the way we want to play, we have to have numbers in midfield, and having only two in midfield wouldn’t give us that control of the game that we have.

“It’s not something we just come up with in a couple of minutes.

“It’s something we discuss every single day, and we work very hard to make sure it’s right.

“I understand the fans’ frustration at the results, and I understand there are parts of our game that we need to improve.

“We know what they are, and we’re working hard to make sure we get them right.”

Latics again enjoyed the lion’s share of possession at Preston last Friday, and created a number of chances only to go down 1-0 to an early deflected goal.

Despite the winless run now standing at seven matches, Caldwell is adamant Latics are not far away from turning things round.

“The only stat that matters is the 1-0 victory that Preston got on the night,” he assessed.

“But what they do show me are the things we try to do as a football team are working.

“They also show me that certain things need to be better.

“We need to get more crosses into the box, and we need to get more people into the box when we get them in.

“The way we play gives me clear indicators that I know what is needed to get wins, and what is needed to improve.

“That’s the beauty of playing the way we do, and analysing the way we do.

“It’s clear what we need to do to get wins, and we’re working hard to try to do that.”

The Scot also rejects the notion Latics will be hamstrung by any added pressure having sunk to the bottom of the Championship for the first time in their history.

“I’ve said it before, but it doesn’t matter where we are in the table,” Caldwell added.

“It hurts the players, it hurts me, it hurts the staff, because we all want to be higher.

“We want to be a team pushing towards the top end of the league, and getting more positive results for the fans. But it (the table) doesn’t matter, it’s irrelevant.

“We have to go out, as a team, with no fear, and play a game of football regardless of league position, and play the way we want to play.

“As players, we can only focus on the next game, and the process of training and doing the things we need to do to make sure we perform in that next game.

“You look at somebody like Leeds, who were down at the bottom, who have put a run together and are suddenly mid-table.

“That is the nature of the Championship, and there is a long way to go.

“We’re not happy where we are, nobody is, but we’re working hard to do something about it.

“There’s no panic, there’s no worry about that.

“We have to go through a process of training, of preparing, to get the players right, to start winning games.

“Like we did last year, I have no worries that this team is capable of going on a long unbeaten run to take us where we want us to be.”