Gary Caldwell admitted he was ‘delighted’ with Wigan Athletic’s opening domestic pre-season friendly, despite the League One champions being held to a goalless draw at non-league Chester.
Latics dominated from virtually the first minute until the last, but were unable to break down a determined Chester side who were content to sit back and defend for their lives.
As expected Caldwell gave 22 of his players a valuable run-out - making 10 outfield changes at half-time - with trialist Ryan Taylor giving an assured display at right-back having only joined the squad on Tuesday.
“It was a good work-out,” assessed Caldwell. “I thought Chester put up a good fight, they put men behind the ball and made it difficult for us.
“We knew we’d have a lot of the ball, and we’d done a lot of work on our style and how we wanted to play.
“I thought in the first half we were excellent in terms of out movement and the rotation we showed in midfield.
“And but for a better finish I think we might have scored two or three.
“In the second half it’s obviously difficult for the players coming on.
“But after 20 minutes I thought we got to grips with the game and caused problems late on.
“Overall I’m delighted with the application and delighted with the way we played.
“We just need to add the finishing touches now.”
Latics were nearly made to pay for their profligacy on the stroke of half-time, when they were indebted to goalkeeper Lee Nicholls for keeping the scoreline blank.
Nicholls, the only man to play more than 45 minutes, raced off his line to deny Chester striker James Alabi a clear sight of goal after a neat passing move cut through the visiting defence.
“Lee’d had absolutely nothing to do in the first half,” acknowledged Caldwell.
“But he was there to make a fantastic save, which shows he has that concentration when we needed him.”