Cook convinced recipe remains right

Paul Cook insists he's not about to throw out the baby with the bath water as Wigan Athletic attempt to get back to winning ways on Tuesday night against struggling Doncaster Rovers.

Monday, 20th November 2017, 10:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 2:21 am
Paul Cook

Latics are aiming to exorcise the demons of Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Bradford – their first league setback at the DW Stadium since March.

But he says any changes he makes will be part of the bigger picture – rather than a knee-jerk reaction to Saturday’s result.

“If you’re going to start doing that, you’re getting to a situation where results dictate everything,” Cook told the Wigan Post.

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“And I’m not a manager who works like that.

“I don’t think that, when you come in and you work hard from Monday to Friday, you always get it right on a Saturday.

“But that doesn’t mean you change everything.

“For example, we would have had a change or two in our team for Tuesday, that would have happened in any case.

“In certain key areas of our team, certain players are very close to being selected.

“In certain other areas of the team, that’s not the case.

“People may deem it as changes being made after Saturday’s game, but we’ve got three games in a week.

“Look at (Ivan) Toney and (Will) Grigg, for example.

“That would be a natural change that the lads themselves would understand, but will look like a reaction to Saturday.

“People will say: ‘He’s been dropped’...but he’s not. We have a squad here of 22 players, who all want to play.

“My job is to guide them, and keep every as competitive as they can be.”

Cook was the first to admit the Bantams were good value for their win, even going as far as to conced the result had perhaps ‘been coming’ for a few weeks.

“You’re learning, for example, that Michael Jacobs can’t be the brilliant Michael Jacobs every single week,” he recognised.

“And you can go through every one of the players, and realise the same with them.

“What these players need now is support, and that’s when squads come into play.

“The players who do have little dips, how quickly can we refresh them and get them back up to speed.

“Fans now, and the media, look for all sorts of different things.

“Obviously we’re being asked why we didn’t play at Rochdale, instead of calling the game off.

“But you look at the football programme on Tuesday – teams will get beat, I guarantee you.

“Teams that are not expected to get beat, will get beat. That’s how it works.

“You need to have a look at your values and your habits.

“Did Bradford look a little bit hungrier to win the game?

“Yes, I think they did – and that disappoints me.

“So the first thing I’m looking for from the team on Tuesday is desire, and how much we want to win the game.”

Cook also expanded on his quotes in Monday’s Wigan Post, when he asked a section of the home support to eradicate the ‘negativity spreading round’ the ground.

“So much is negative at the moment, and I must admit I’m struggling with that,” the Latics boss explained.

“We’re second in the league, with 36 points!

“Believe me, there’s not a lot to be negative about.

“If people want to carry on with that, feel free.

“It’s what football brings you – as you go through a 46-game campaign, there’s going to be plenty of highs and lows, and some middle bits as well.

“For me, looking back, a draw would have been a decent result.

“It would have kept Bradford well behind us, it would have kept us unbeaten at home in the league.

“There would have been so many positives from drawing the game 1-1.

“Unfortunately we didn’t do that, and that can lead to disappointment and negativity.

“But we go again, and there’s a quick chance to do that with the game against Doncaster.”