I will not 'shrink away or float away' - Wigan Athletic chief

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook insists the only pressure he’s feeling at the moment is that which he puts himself under.

Cook has spent the international break plotting how to raise Latics from the slumber with which they’ve started the campaign.

After seeing his side drop into the bottom three for the first time since he took charge in the summer of 2017, Cook’s men resume with four points on the board from their six matches played.

Having won only once away from home in over a year, they could do without two testing trips – to Hull and Fulham – coming up in the next three matches, sandwiching the visit of second-placed Charlton.

Cook, though, prefers to roll up his sleeves rather than ‘shrink away or float away’.

“The biggest problem for me, is when you are a fan yourself, you feel the pain of a fan,” he told the Wigan Post.

“I genuinely feel for fans who’ve travelled far and paid as much money as our fans have – because I’ve been there.

“All you want to see is your team giving everything they’ve got. That’s all you can ask.

“Yes we’re a new team, and a ‘work in progress’, and it is tough to make that progress.

“It’s up to other people to decide what progress is. For me, it’s having a team on the pitch you can identify with.

"And that’s something we’re desperately searching for.

“To tell you the God’s honest truth, the only pressure I feel is the pressure I put myself under to succeed.

“When I watch my side from the sidelines, I want to be able to think, ‘That’s my team, that’s our team’.

“At QPR, I just couldn’t recognise the team in front of me.

“And by the way, I know it’s my job to put that right.

“Within that, the players must take...not the blame, but they must feel a little bit of that pain, and think, ‘Can we do better?’”

The 52-year-old admitted after the recent loss at QPR that ‘if results stay the same, someone else will be speaking to you’ (the media).

But having experienced almost non-stop success during his career as a manager, Cook is remaining calm during this mini speed-bump.

“Managers have to be so strong-minded these days,” he acknowledged. “Because we live in a world where criticism just flows out.

“I look back on my tenure at Wigan Athletic with a huge amount of pride – and that’s the truth.

"If the day comes where that was to end, that’s life, that’s football.

“But my driving force, my motivation, has to remain how we can be successful, how can I improve these players?

“The best way to solve any problem we have is to win games. I do feel sometimes that words are not great, people talking is not the best way.

“People who know me and saw me after QPR will know how I would react.

"And that’s certainly not to shrink away or float away.”