Burke: We're good enough to win games
Reece Burke is hoping Wigan Athletic can build on their vital victory at Huddersfield when in-form Derby County visit the DW Stadium this weekend.
Latics recorded their first win under new manager Warren Joyce in front of the Sky cameras on Monday night with a textbook away-day performance.
Burke provided the first goal when he supported a rampaging counter-attack started by Yanic Wildschut, who then added number two to secure a deserved three points.
“The win was a massive boost for us,” Burke, on a season-long loan from West Ham, acknowledged.
“We’ve been working hard as a team recently, and the results just haven’t been there – but Monday night was a different case.
“They might have had more possession than us but, at the end of the day, we won and we’re pleased with that.
“When it goes to 1-1 sometimes you have doubts about losing, but the team spirit is good and we’re confident when we go out there.
“The gaffer said to us before the game we are good enough to win games, and it’s given us confidence for the next game now.”
Burke, 20, admits having the pace of Wildschut in the team makes Latics a threat for anyone in the Championship.
“I’ve come up against Yanic in training a few times and he is powerful,” Burke recognised.
“He is very hard to play against, so it’s definitely a problem when defenders come up against him.
“It was a great burst from Yanic on Monday to put the ball in for me, and it was unbelievable to score my first Wigan goal.”
Latics were looking to take advantage of the pace of Wildschut at every opportunity at the John Smith’s Stadium, with Michael Jacobs pulling the strings behind in the No.10 position.
Jacobs has played much of his football for Latics in wide areas since joining from Wolves in the summer of 2015.
But he says he feels just as comfortable if not more so in a free role between midfield and attack.
“I feel the No.10 role is the one that suits me best, and I’ve been enjoying it in recent weeks,” Jacobs admitted.
“Going back to last year, when we kind of played with two No.10s behind Will (Grigg), I thought I played some of my best football.
“Playing that role, though, it is hard work keeping up with Yanic to be honest!
“Sometimes you’re playing balls through to him, and you’re thinking: ‘I’m never going to be able to get up there and support him in time’.
“You’re starting off 20 yards behind him, and you’re hoping he can hold up the ball long enough for you to be able to catch him up, he’s that fast! But his pace is such a weapon, teams come at us and we know we can hit them on the break.”
This weekend sees Jacobs come up against one of his former clubs in Derby, who have recovered from a disappointing start under Nigel Pearson to rise to within touching distance of the play-offs following the return of Steve McClaren.
“It’ll be nice to see some old faces again this weekend,” added Jacobs, who played for the Rams between 2012-14 before moving on to Wolves.
“But more important than that it’ll be a massive game for us, against a side that’s been on a fantastic run.
“We definitely need to improve our home form, which was a big factor in our success last year.
“We’ve struggled a bit this season – not so much performances but results – and we need to improve.”