'˜Fans would have slaughtered me had I not put Callum McManaman on', admits Wigan Athletic boss
Paul Cook insisted Wigan Athletic could take '˜great encouragement' from the 2-0 defeat at West Brom that saw them slip to within four points of the Championship drop zone.
A goal in either half from Jay Rodriguez did for Latics, who have won only one of their last 11 matches.
But the spirited way they finished the game - sparked by the second-half introduction of Callum McManaman - at least afforded a small light at the end of the tunnel.
“Of course we’re disappointed to have lost the game,” Cook said.
“When you come to a ground like this, against a team of this calibre, you know there’s going to be moments when they’re going to stretch you.
“To be fair, I didn’t feel that a lot on the day, although we know West Brom play with such a wonderful style that they can open you up at any time.
“On a day like this, you have to take every chance that comes your way, and the disappointment we have is we weren’t able to take any of them.
“West Brom don’t score the goals they do and carry the threat they do without having such quality players at the top end of the pitch.
“But our season won’t be defined by what happens today, and I think we can take great encouragement from the way we played.
“At the moment, it’s just not happening for us in both boxes.”
McManaman’s introduction on the 53-minute mark - which came after minutes of prolonged chanting from the 1,105-strong away end - almost didn’t happen, with the Latics boss revealing the dilemma he had before electing to twist.
“Cal’s been feeling sick, he vomited before the game, he was close to not going on,” Cook admitted.
“But I know our fans would have absolutely slaughtered me if I hadn’t put him on.
“I accept that, I know he gives us something different in the last third.
“Sometimes the formation doesn’t adhere to putting Callum into the position we saw here.
“But it’s something we certainly must look at moving forwards.”
Cook also refused to make an issue of the incident inside the opening skirmishes - before the Baggies took the lead on eight minutes - which saw Josh Windass claiming a penalty only for the official to award only a corner.
“We’re not here to make excuses about results or refereeing decisions,” Cook added.
“It’s tough at the moment, and I think everyone can see that, but the lads are giving me everything.”