Caldwell: We’ll work on finishing teams off

Latics players celebrate their win over Coventry on Saturday
Latics players celebrate their win over Coventry on Saturday

Gary Caldwell hailed the professionalism of his Wigan Athletic side after they saw off Coventry to move four points clear at the top of League One with only five games to play.

Will Grigg’s close-range effort at the beginning of the second half made it five wins in a row for Latics, and a third 1-0 home victory on the bounce.

Despite the performance lacking the swashbuckling nature of their last two wins on the road - the 4-1 romp at Swindon and 5-1 mauling of Shrewsbury - Caldwell was equally pleased to see them hold on for a narrow but well-deserved triumph.

“I’ve said before that you don’t get any more points for scoring more goals,” the Latics boss recognised.

“Whether it’s 1-0 like today or 5-1 like last weekend, it doesn’t matter.

“What matters is winning the game, and I think the way we won the game was impressive.

“It’s not easy when you’re top of the league and winning a game 1-0.

“They didn’t have much pressure, but they gambled in sending a lot of men forward.

“We showed great understanding of the situation, we kept the ball well at times, high up the pitch, to kill off the game, and I always felt comfortable.”

It ensured Caldwell got even with his former mentor Tony Mowbray - his manager at Celtic and Hibernian - who masterminded a 2-0 Coventry win on the opening day of the campaign.

“I think the performance was excellent against a very difficult team to play against,” Caldwell acknowledged.

“I said on Friday their manager is somebody I know very well, and he’s very clever in the way he sets his teams up.

“I knew they’d cause us a lot of problems and they did, playing very similar to the way they did on the opening day of the season.

“They tried to frustrate us, nick it in that middle area, and I thought we dealt with it very well - both in terms of being patient with the ball and holding our defensive unit when they broke.

“We looked very strong and, especially in the second half, I didn’t feel in any danger.

“We had opportunities on the counter to pick them off and finish the game off.

“It’s something we’ll keep working on - to be more ruthless in that situation, and pick the right option a bit more to finish the game off.”

Grigg continued his incredible sequence in recent months, notching his 15th goal from his last 16 games, which could have become a goal-a-game ratio had he not seen a penalty saved at the three-quarter mark.

“Will is on fire, and it could have been more - he could have had another from the penalty spot,” Caldwell added.

“If we keep creating chances like that then he will score goals.

“He’s got fantastic movement in the box, and the goal was something we’ve worked on - getting into wide areas and picking people out rather than just putting it into areas.

“It was a great pick-up by Stephen (Warnock), and that’s what Will does best. It was a great finish.”

Despite the second-half introduction of ex-Latics striker Marc-Antoine Fortune, Coventry never really threatened Jussi Jaaskelainen’s goal.

And the gulf in quality between the two sides was shown with Reece Wabara, Michael Jacobs and Haris Vuckic off the Wigan bench, and the likes of Craig Davies and Ryan Colclough not even getting their tracksuits off.

“We have that luxury, and it’s great for me to have,” admitted Caldwell.

“I look at the bench and I know I can put players on who can change a game.

“Today we changed it and tried to get footballers on the park, who can look after the ball late in the game.

“And I thought we did that.”