Close but no cigar - Caldwell

Gary Caldwell admitted there were positives to be gleaned from Wigan Athletic's disappointing 1-0 home defeat to QPR - but beomoaned another lapse at the back that proved costly.
Gary CaldwellGary Caldwell
Gary Caldwell

Latics signed off for the international break with a second league defeat on the spin, thanks to a 8th-minute strike from Nedum Onouha, who was given time and space to lash home from 15 yards.

The home side had enough ball and possession to do some damage themselves, but didn’t force Rangers goalkeeper Alex Smithies into enough meaningful action.

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“There were a few positives, we created opportunities, the players gave me everything, they kept going,” acknowledged Caldwell.

“I can’t fault the desire, but we have to get better in terms of know-how, and playing in the right areas.

“We just have to work hard and make sure we get the little things right that become big things in the game.

“We could have switched play better, could have played in wide areas better, we know they’re a team that plays narrow.

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“We just didn’t exploit that space as much as we would have liked.

“Again we conceded a poor goal, and we have to learn that clean sheets are going to be the bedrock of our success this season.

“We have to stop conceding poor goals.”

On-loan Everton left wing-back Luke Garbutt came closest to scoring for Latics, only for his second-half effort to be brilliantly saved at full stretch by Smithies.

Will Grigg also had a couple of decent chances in stoppage-time, the first of which flew just over and the second was foiled by a brilliant block by ex-Latic James Perch at the far post.

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“I thought the first one was a great cross but maybe just too high for him,” said Caldwell.

“For the second one, Perchy defends well at the back post.

“There just wasn’t enough of that for my liking.

“We should have been doing that in the first half, and putting them under more pressure.”

Latics thought they’d taken the lead six minutes before the break, only for captain Craig Morgan’s header off Garbutt’s pinpoint free-kick to be disallowed for offside.

“When you see it back, he is marginally offside,” admitted Caldwell.

“But I didn’t expect anything else, every time somebody went through they were offside.

“He (the linesman) got more wrong than he got right, but the goal was marginally offside.”