We made our point, insists defiant Joyce

Warren Joyce
Warren Joyce

Warren Joyce felt Wigan Athletic ‘deserved’ their draw at Barnsley - and reckoned it would have been ‘a travesty’ had they come with nothing.

Latics had their backs against the wall for the majority of the encounter at Oakwell, losing Nick Powell and Adam Bogdan to injury along the way.

But a determined defensive effort ensured they returned home with a point to show for their efforts.

“I thought we deserved our point,” said the Latics boss.

“The way we defended, the way the lads put their bodies on the line, I thought it would have been a travesty if we hadn’t got anything out of the game.

“I thought we maybe had the clearer of the chances too, the clear-cut ones.

“It was a good performance bearing in mind we came into the game having lost a player this morning ill, the goalkeeper gets stretchered off, it throws a couple of curve balls from which we’ve had to react.”

Powell, who had missed the last two matches with a hamstring problem, lasted barely half-an-hour before limping off.

However, Joyce denied the ex-Manchester United man had been rushed back too soon.

“It wasn’t really a gamble, because he’s trained since the last game and he’s trained pretty well,” Joyce revealed.

“He played in the practice game last week, but obviously him coming off is another one that throws us.”

Latics are waiting to discover the extent of the knee injury that caused Bogdan to be stretchered off in the second half after lengthy treatment following an innocuous incident.

But Joyce was happy with the way Jussi Jaaskelainen, 41, stepped into the breach on his first outing of the campaign.

“Jussi’s been a good pro all his life, and he’s impressed me since I’ve come in,” enthused Joyce.

“He’s had a really good career, but he’s so willing to work, and he’s such a good example to the younger lads, that if you live your life well and you do the right things, and you still have the hunger and desire, anything is possible. Every credit to him.”

Joyce also took issue with the suggestion Latics had ‘bounced back’ from the 3-0 home defeat to Reading in his first match in charge a fortnight ago.

“It’s not so much of a reaction to Reading, because I wasn’t unhappy with the reaction from the players after they went 2-0 down,” he explained.

“It’s really hard, against a very good side, not to chuck it in and give up - and I didn’t feel we did that.

“Even though the result went against us, if you take out the first three minutes - and I’m not usually one for stats - we had more possession and more chances than them.

“When you’re in the situation we’re in, that’s got to be the baseline, where everybody’s got to work, and do what’s asked for them.

“The icing on the cake after that is to play expansive football and be clever.

“But you can’t just expect to have that, and outpass teams in this league.

“I think the game against Reading, if you take away the first three minutes, wasn’t too dissimilar to what happened today.

“Obviously when you’re two goals down inside the first three minutes, you don’t have as start in the game, and any game-plan is out of the window.

“We’ve had a little bit more time to work with them, and a chance to see the decisions they make and how they react to certain situations you put them in.

“This is a really tough place to come and play.

“I’ve been here a lot over the years, to watch players like Ben Pearson and Ashley Fletcher, when they were on loan (from Manchester United).

“I know how good the crowd are, and the type of football they play, so we knew we were in for a tough game.”