Caldwell: That was us at our best

Gary Caldwell shows off his skills
Gary Caldwell shows off his skills

Gary Caldwell was running out of superlatives to describe Wigan Athletic’s demolition of beleaguered Blackburn at the DW Stadium.

Latics recorded their first victory back in the Championship at the second attempt, seeing off Rovers 3-0 in a one-sided exhibition of football.

From the moment Will Grigg opened the scoring on 14 minutes - heading home Max Power’s mis-hit shot - there was only going to be one winner.

Nick Powell added number two just after the half-hour mark, with Rovers centre-back Shane Duffy putting through his own goal shortly before the three-quarter mark.

“It was total dominance from us,” gushed Caldwell. “It should have been more than 2-0 at half-time, and that was the only frustrating aspect.

“But in terms of the way we played, the way we went about our business – with and without the ball – that was us at our best.

“We can take a lot from that game in terms of belief, and we know that against good sides, against Championship sides, at our best we’re a real threat.

“For the first 45 minutes, I don’t think there would have been many better performances up and down the country.

“Our pressing was incredible, our energy was incredible, and we showed real belief with the way we passed the ball.

“It could have been four or five at half-time, and at 2-0 the next goal is always pretty big.

“We had 10 minutes at the start of the second half when we didn’t manage the game well, and we’ll have to learn from that.

“Unlike last week we managed to turn it around and come back into the game, scored another goal and control the last 20 minutes.”

Despite the opening goal arriving in rather fortuitous fortuitous fashion, Caldwell felt it was no more than his side deserved for the way they’d set about their task.

“It’s something we’ve been working on, outside-of-the-foot crosses,” he smiled. “Will was there at the back post, and it came off perfect.”

It was the perfect response to back-to-back defeats – at Bristol City last weekend and at Oldham in the League Cup in midweek – that saw some questions start to be asked of last year’s League One champions.

“I think people outside the club start to get jittery and panic when you lose games,” Caldwell acknowledged. “But there was no panic from within. We were always comfortable in what we were doing, we knew the reasons for the loss last weekend and for the loss on Tuesday.

“It’s important players and staff within the club remain calm, believe in what their doing. And I think you saw a team that had full belief in what they were doing.

“The clean sheet was also great – it’s great for defenders, I was one myself. If you lose a goal late in a game like that, you do feel a little bit down after the game. They can be proud for seeing it out, and Adam (Bogdan) made some good saves look very easy.

“I didn’t feel we were ever going to lose a goal, even though I wasn’t really happy with the way we started the second half in terms of the way we managed the game.

“Our pressing from the front wasn’t as good as it had been in the second half, but we deserved the clean sheet.”

Caldwell also hailed another assured display at right-back from 18-year-old Luke Burke, making his first home start for the club.

“He’s doing unbelievable,” Caldwell gushed. “He’s somebody who’s really stood up to the plate when we needed him, in a crisis in that position.

“We didn’t expect him to be doing what he’s doing, but he can be very proud of what he is doing at the minute.

“He is a boy playing in a man’s team in a man’s game, and he’s performing so well.

“Physically the demands are so difficult, and we’re having to look after him, but he’s doing a job for the team and he can be very proud of what he’s doing.”