James McClean 'quietly confident' about Wigan Athletic after Norwich City draw
James McClean says Wigan Athletic are 'quietly confident' about what they can achieve this season after a 1-1 draw at Championship promotion favourites Norwich City.
Latics had to withstand a furious onslaught from Dean Smith's men, before growing into the game and taking the lead through McClean's strike just before the half-hour.
They were pegged back on the hour mark when, after a lengthy break in play following an injury to City's Dimi Giannoulis, Max Aarons slotted past Ben Amos.
If the Latics goalkeeper might have done better with the goal, he redeemed himself by pulling off a jaw-dropping save to divert a Teemu Pukki shot onto the bar, to preserve a precious point.
"That'll do us," acknowledged McClean. "Obviously there's a bit of disappointment because we went in front.
"First and foremost our thoughts are with their lad, because it's nice to see an injury like that.
"But I thought the long delay disrupted our concentration on our side, and we conceded the goal not long after.
"After that I thought we showed great resilience, even though it wasn't our best performance on the ball.
"This team's been together for more than a year now, and we do work hard for each other, which showed today.
"I've played in this league for a long time, and it is a very tough league.
"You need a strong dressing room and a strong team spirit, and this is one of the best, if not the best, I've been in.
"I think that shows on the pitch, because there's no superstars out there, there's no egos.
"Everyone grafts for the team, puts the team first, and on the back of last season, there's plenty of confidence too."
On his goal, created by Will Keane's inch-perfect pass, McClean said: "It's just a case of making sure the first touch gets the ball out of my feet, and having a bit of composure.
"The goalkeeper's coming out, it's about keeping your head, and I was able to slot it into the corner."
With two points on the board from their opening two fixtures, McClean is happy with the way Latics have adjusted to the step up from League One.
"First and foremost, for any promoted club, the priority is making sure you stay in the division," he added.
"But we have a lot of quality and belief in the squad, and we're quietly confident about what we've got in the club."
The opening quarter was one-way traffic, with Pukki having a shot blocked Curtis Tilt, who then got back to clear after Milot Rashica got in behind and lobbed over Amos.
Aarons then fired just past the far post, before Callum Lang almost scored with the visitors' first sight of goal, after being played in by Keane.
But Tim Krul was off his line in a flash.
The Norwich goalkeeper was helpless moments later, however, when Keane played in McClean, who controlled and slotted into the bottom corner.
Latics were almost pegged back seconds after the restart when Rashica's shot was well saved by Amos.
The equaliser did come on the hour, before Amos – and the bar – denied Pukki.
New-boy Ryan Nyambe was one of four substitutes introduced in the closing stages, with Latics also having to negotiate 10 minutes of stoppage-time.