Barrow learns his Gomez lesson
Graham Barrow hailed match-winner Jordi Gomez after learning a valuable lesson from his previous stint as Wigan Athletic caretaker boss.
The Spaniard prodded home with three minutes to go to secure a fantastic 1-0 victory for Latics at fellow strugglers Cardiff.
It was the perfect way to end a turbulent week for the club, following the sacking of Gary Caldwell last Tuesday.
Barrow was placed in temporary charge for the big game in south Wales, a role he also filled following Owen Coyle’s dismissal three seasons ago.
And the 62-year-old revealed the seeds of this weekend’s victory were sown back then, during Gomez’s previous spell at Wigan.
“Jordi is...Jordi,” beamed Barrow.
“Obviously I had the two games in charge before, at Leeds and Millwall, when we played some good football but we lost both games.
“I told Jordi on Thursday, when I’d been told I’d be in charge, that I’d made a mistake not playing him against Leeds and Millwall.
“I said wouldn’t make the same mistake again. Thankfully he’s repaid that faith!”
It was clearly an afternoon of mixed emotions for Barrow, who made no attempt to mask his disappointment that the win came just too late to save Caldwell’s job.
“It’s been a really emotional week for us all if I’m honest,” he acknowledged.
“Everybody knows the type of guy Gary is and the friendship he has with the players and the staff.
“It’s not been easy, but I’ve just been asked am I surprised by any of it...I’ve been in the game long enough to know that nothing surprises you.
“We don’t make those decisions, but the football club comes first.
“We all know that when we come into the game, and myself and Gary have obviously talked about this time and time again.
“He’s taken it like the man that he is, and he will be back - there’s no doubt about that.
“He’s got far too much to offer.”
Rather than take any of the glory, Barrow quickly diverted it back towards his former gaffer.
“In some ways it was for Gary, because I know how much the players still think of him,” Barrow explained.
“But it was also for ourselves, and the people who own this club, because it’s important we start to win football matches, home and away, and get us up the league.
“I think we saw today, and over the last few weeks, that we do have enough to do that, and hopefully a little bit of luck has changed.
“It was probably a blessing for us that we were away from home, that we had a couple of days to get ready, and get a few things out of the system.
“We trained at Birmingham the day before, we were together all day, and I think everyone can see we still have our spirit from last season that got us through.”
The win takes Latics up a place to third-bottom, but now only a point behind fourth-bottom Cardiff.
Indeed, Latics are only a couple of wins from the top half, such is the incredibly tight nature of the Championship.
“I’m not blaming individuals, but two headers from Nick Powell in recent weeks and we could have been six points better off - and you’re home and dry,” mused Barrow.
“But those are the margins you are dealing with in the Championship.
“No disrespect to League One, because we had to do well to win it, but we could afford to be poor in the first half and make a couple of changes, send Yanic (Wildschut) on, and you blitz the last 20 minutes and win 3-0.
“I don’t think this will ever happen in this league.
“I’ve always thought, all season, that we would be fine.
“But the games are tough, that game was very tough.
“I thought we showed the physicality to deal with that side of the game, as well as the ability that we know we have, which is a good thing.”