GARY Caldwell admits Wigan Athletic were taught a harsh lesson on day one of the League One campaign as they crashed to a 2-0 defeat at Coventry.
Latics, the pre-season favourites for promotion back to the Championship, were deservedly beaten at the Ricoh Arena by a well-drilled City outfit.
Despite being the home side, Tony Mowbray’s men were content to sit back and allow Latics to enjoy the lion’s share of possession.
But they looked dangerous every time they attacked – two-goal Adam Armstrong causing problems throughout.
And the winning margin could have been even more had Armstrong and James Maddison not also struck the woodwork.
“I know Tony well, I know he likes to play football,” acknowledged Caldwell, who served as a player under Mowbray at both Hibernian and Celtic.
We have to be better set-up, so when we do lose the ball it’s not as easy to score against usGary Caldwell
“They showed us a lot of respect by sitting off and playing counter-attacking football.
“He was giving up a lot of his principles, but a lot of teams are going to do that and we need to learn how to play against that.
“We played right into their hands, and basically gave them opportunities and gave them goals from our own slack play.
“We were confident going into the game, we thought we could win the game, but we caused ourselves too many problems,” he said.
“We have to be better set-up, so when we do lose the ball it’s not as easy to score against us.
“We had a lot more possession as they sat off but, as I said to the players, they’ll have to learn to deal with that because a few teams will try and do that to us.” Latics weren’t aided by the fact 13 of their 14 men on duty were making their debuts for the club, with only Chris McCann remaining from last season.
But Caldwell denied the early reality check would exacerbate the need to bring in extra reinforcements ahead of the transfer deadline.
“Not at all,” he added. “We knew before the game what we needed to bring in and we still know that after the game.
“It’s an ongoing process and we’ll continue to look at that.”
Caldwell reported no fresh injuries from the game, and said vice-captain Jason Pearce is still not ready to feature as he recovers from a leg injury picked up in pre-season.
Latics have three home games in little more than a week, starting tomorrow night against Bury in the Capital One Cup. They then host Doncaster (Sunday) and Scunthorpe (Wednesday) in the league.