UWE Rosler reckons his Wigan Athletic players need to be prepared to go in where it hurts to rediscover the winning formula.
Latics were last night held to a fourth Championship draw on the bounce against a Millwall side who are also struggling in the table.
Although they dominated possession and territory, Shaun Maloney’s first-half effort that was tipped over the bar and substitute Callum McManaman’s second-half strike that came back off the bar were the only real times Wigan looked like scoring.
And despite fielding a second striker in Marc-Antoine Fortune, Rosler again bemoaned his side’s lack of punch in the attacking third.
“We wanted to add another striker to help Oriol Riera, to take a little bit of the physical pressure on him, and that worked quite well,” admitted Rosler.
“We got into good areas, and we put the ball into the box.But our movement in the box still isn’t good enough - we need players in there who can sacrifice themselves.
“The first defender for the opposition is clearing too many decent balls into the box.
“James Tavernier was putting in good balls from the right, and sometimes you have to be prepared to get a little bit hurt.
“Me being an old striker, you have to beat the first defender - either to score or to take him out.
“That is what we didn’t do, although we filled the box a lot better than we did against Brentford.
“The willingness to score was there, the players wanted it, but the longer the game went we got anxious.
“I am frustrated with the result, but I thought we did everything right apart from the last 20 metres.”
One bright spot was the shock appearance of Maynor Figueroa, who penned a one-month loan deal from Hull in time to make his second debut for the club.
Rosler said: “Andrew Taylor had been struggling with his calf, and with the amount of games coming up it was a good decision to get Maynor in for a month.
“Maynor was so solid – you could see with his positional play that he was so solid.
“It was perfect with Roger Espinoza also coming back in, both Hondurans had a positive impact with the crowd.”
The major downside was the loss of centre-back Ivan Ramis at the start of the second half to a hamstring problem.
“It killed me a little bit when Ivan came off, because I didn’t really want to use a substitute in defence,” added Rosler.
“I wanted to use three attacking changes, with Andy (Delort) and Martyn (Waghorn) also on the bench as offensive players. Unfortunately Ivan felt his hamstring, and unfortunately they don’t usually go away in three days.”
Meanwhile, long-term absentees Chris McCann and Ben Watson successfully came through their first games for seven and eight months respectively in a specially-arranged friendly against Everton at Christopher Park yesterday afternoon.
“It was exactly what we wanted for them, and they both got through 60 minutes with no problems,” revealed Rosler.
“My coaches were very impressed with their contributions both with and without the ball, and next Tuesday they will face a more competitive game when we’ll know more about how quickly we can integrate them.”