Cook delighted to get off the mark in style

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

Manager Paul Cook insisted Wigan Athletic were very good value for their 1-0 season-opening victory at MK Dons.

Latics took all three points thanks to Nick Powell’s goal seven minutes before the break, although their cause wasn’t helped when left-back Callum Elder - making his debut after joining from Leicester in the week - was red-carded just before the break for a foul on George Williams.

However, MK Dons couldn’t make their extra man tell, and they lost the numerical advantage when Scott Wootton was also shown a straight red just before the hour mark for hauling down Michael Jacobs.

And the visitors if anything looked the more likely to add further goals than concede, with ex-Latics goalkeeper Lee Nicholls in fine form for the home side.

“We created more than enough chances to win the game,” acknowledged Cook.

“Make no mistake, MK Dons are a very good side, and they’re going to be up there in the shake-up.

“We’re pleased with the result, but more importantly we’re pleased with the performance.

“When the fixtures come out, everyone wants to get off the mark with a win.

“There’s such a long way to go in the race, but it’s always nice to start with a win.

“We’ll have a good trip home, and we’ll be ready for Blackpool on Tuesday and Bury next weekend.”

Cook tried not to be too harsh on referee Kevin Johnson, who appeared to lose all control of the game and was barracked by both sets of supporters.

“I’m not going to criticise the referee, but in my opinion I thought there were too many cards in the game,” recognised Cook.

“Football’s competitive - you can’t have players like Sam Morsy and a few of theirs on the field and it not be competitive.

“Overall I thought the game was played in a competitive spirit.

“You can debate the game as much as you like, and we’re always being told we must show referees more respect.

“We accept that as managers, but at the same time there has to be more consistency in decisions, and we must work together.

“Has it gone our way today? By the time everyone’s looking at the highlights, we’re all wiser.

“Referees have to make those split-second decisions, but I thought we thoroughly deserved the win.”

Cook’s was clearly delighted to get off to a winning start in his first competitive outing since moving north from Portsmouth, after an eventful first few weeks in charge.

“We’ve worked hard in pre-season, and I thought we had a good shape about us,” the Latics boss added.

“There’s a lot going on at a club when you get relegated, people will always have opinions - good or bad - but we’ve kept our heads down.

“This was the result of a lot of hard work, and I thought we had some outstanding performances in there.”