Joyce: I won’t throw in the towel

Warren Joyce
Warren Joyce

Warren Joyce insists there’s ‘certainly no way’ he’ll be throwing in the towel despite Wigan Athletic slipping further into the relegation mire after Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Bristol City.

All of the positivity generated from the midweek win at Birmingham disintegrated in the space of 90 minutes as Latics continued their wretched form at the DW Stadium.

Latics have now lost seven of their 11 home games since Joyce took charge in November, winning only once - against Brentford in January.

Even more alarmingly, Latics have failed to score in eight of those 11 matches, explaining why they are the lowest goalscorers in the Championship, and fighting for their lives.

Latics are now four points adrift of safety with only nine matches to go.

Joyce, though, is adamant he is up for the fight of steering the ship out of increasingly choppy waters.

When asked whether he’d considered throwing in the towel, Joyce snapped: “It’s a silly question that.

“There’s certainly no way I’ll ever be throwing in the towel - in life or in football.

“You’ve got to just battle on, and there’s too many good characters in the dressing room for us to just lie down and die.

“They want to keep going, keep fighting, and there’s too many points still to play for.

“We need to dust ourselves down again and come out fighting, giving it everything we’ve got in every game between now and the end of the season.”

Despite enjoying plenty of the ball, Latics once again never looked like producing the quality necessary to cut through the opposition defence.

The closest they came to scoring was when David Perkins - without a goal since October 2012 - hit the bar with a long-range effort in the first half.

But other than that the visiting defence had a relatively comfortable afternoon - which became even better when Aden Flint forced home the winning goal from a disputed corner with three minutes left.

“Obviously a lack of goals has been a problem all season,” acknowledged Joyce.

“Whether we play 4-3-3, 4-4-2, a diamond in midfield, wing-backs with two up front, we still look unable to score goals.

“What we can say is that we’ve been in every game, we’ve been losing by the odd goal.

“It wasn’t smooth, it wasn’t free-flowing football, but we still created opportunities and we could have scored goals.

“We created as many chances as they did, and we’ve lost with a goal that, really, shouldn’t have been allowed on two counts.

“We’ve looked at the build-up, it’s not a corner, and he’s in an offside position anyway.

“Having said that, I don’t think we played well enough - although we didn’t deserve to lose the game.

“We didn’t play with enough quality or enough drive.

“We didn’t win as many individual battles as you’d like to win, and we gave away too many cheap free-kicks, which slows the play down and takes the pressure off them.”

Joyce, however, had no complaints once again about the effort and endeavour of his side who once again left everything on the field.

“I think throughout the time I’ve been you’ve not been able to fault the effort of the players - in any game we’ve played,” the Latics boss added.

“But the final ball, the final pass, the final effort...that’s why footballers are paid vast sums of money, and that’s the hardest thing to do.

“Nobody tries not to score, nobody tries not to pass the ball with quality.

“But I didn’t think in those areas we were quite at the level needed to win the game.”

Joyce is keeping his fingers crossed that the leg injury that caused skipper Stephen Warnock to limp off in the final quarter - which ruined his record of having played every minute of every game this season - isn’t too serious.

“Steve’s got a laceration on his knee,” Joyce reported. “He’ll be assessed during the week.”