Caldwell says he has 'so much respect' for Maloney and Barrow after Exeter City's victory at Wigan Athletic

Gary Caldwell admitted to having 'so much respect' for Shaun Maloney and Graham Barrow after his Exeter City side made it third time lucky against Wigan Athletic.
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The Exeter boss - making his first return to the DW in opposition colours - raised eyebrows earlier in the campaign with comments made after Latics won on the south coast in both the league and the FA Cup in the space of a fortnight.

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Wigan Athletic boss admits Exeter defeat was 'tough to take' due to a 'lack of i...

After accusing Latics and Maloney - his former team-mate with Celtic and Scotland as well as Wigan - of 'playing very negative football'...Caldwell also claimed: 'It's not the club that I knew, it's not the way I knew that club plays'.

Gary Caldwell and Shaun Maloney watch on at the DW StadiumGary Caldwell and Shaun Maloney watch on at the DW Stadium
Gary Caldwell and Shaun Maloney watch on at the DW Stadium
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Maloney subsequently admitted the comments were 'hard' to take.

Speaking after his side's 2-1 victory at the DW, Caldwell was clearly delighted at having come away with the win.

"I actually thought that was the best that Wigan played in all three matches," he said. "They gave us so many problems in possession, I thought they were excellent, the way they kept rotating their shape and asking questions.

"But football is a really funny game...I thought we played much better in the first two games and came away with nothing."

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On whether it meant more than three points, Caldwell replied: "I don't think so, other than obviously where both sides are in the league.

"I do feel for Wigan because of the points deduction, they shouldn't be where they are in the table.

"That's unfortunate, and I think they have dealt with that extremely well this season.

"But in terms of our league position, and the run we've been on, I think it was important we didn't lose today.

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"You could see with the attitude of the players, and the way they worked out of possession, there was a real spirit and a determination not to get beat - and fortunately we got the win."

And when asked about the situation with Maloney and Barrow, Caldwell said: "It's all fine.

"I speak to Graham probably two or three times a week...I have so much respect for him and for Shaun.

"Obviously when you play against each other, there's that competitive edge, when sometimes things maybe get said in the emotion of the game...but that's football.

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"They've won two games against us this season, they should be really happy with the way they've played against us, in terms of their points return.

"Hopefully after today, both clubs can have a strong finish to the season, and get what we want from the season."

Caldwell had started the afternoon having walked past the visiting dressing room during a corridor walk he had made hundreds of times during his time at Wigan.

"It was strange seeing so many familiar faces before the game, and being used to going to the other dressing room, it became a habit!" he laughed.

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"This is obviously a fantastic football club that, in recent years, has had some really difficult times...not from inside, but from outside factors.

"With Wigan, they always find a way to fight back, they're never beaten, and I think that shows with how they've performed this season.

"I'm sure once they get through this season, they'll build and they'll grow again and go again next year."

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