Asserting team's identity is Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook's top priority

Will Grigg celebrates his goal against Nottingham Forest on Saturday as Latics continued their scoring run in their Championship return
Will Grigg celebrates his goal against Nottingham Forest on Saturday as Latics continued their scoring run in their Championship return
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Paul Cook isn’t worrying too much about results as Wigan Athletic prepare to face Stoke City tonight in their fourth Championship outing.



Latics so far have three points from a win, draw and a defeat from their opening three games, but have delighted fans with their attacking style of play.

And while Cook acknowledges the Championship will be full of difficult tests, and some bad results, his number one priority is making sure his players stamp the side’s identity on the division.

“At the moment out lads are very focused. They’re very relaxed with what we’re doing and trying to do and they’re executing game plans for me which are top class,” said Cook.

“When you watch us play there’s a clear identity to what we’re trying to do.

"It doesn’t mean we’re winning games but one of the things in football today is teams with identities.

“It doesn’t matter how you play, just be good at it.

“At the moment we’re getting a couple of indifferent results if you like but people are genuinely enjoying watching us play and that seems to be the conscientious from most supporters.

“We do seem to be very competitive in the league and long may that continue because we know there’s so many difficult games and hardships today and going into Stoke is certainly one of them.”

Latics face a Stoke side tonight looking for their first win under new manager Gary Rowett, who have two draws and a loss from their opening three games.

But Cook acknowledges he has his own areas of concern, notably a leaky defence, despite the fact his side is so far mixing it with the more established teams in the Championship.

“We’re standing up there now with the other teams and I don’t try and put pressure on other managers. I think it’s so wrong,” he said.

“But we’re playing against teams that are expected to do well in the division and we’re holding our own.

“At the minute everything’s going well for me, albeit people are thinking about goals conceded.

“You can’t get everything right in football and it’s one of the problems in the game.”

Two of the goals Latics have let in during their opening three games have seen points snatched away in heartbreaking fashion.

An injury-time goal at Aston Villa denied Latics a draw against arguably the biggest side in the division before Hillal Soudani denied Wigan all three points against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

But Cook has insisted he hasn’t had to pick his players up following the late disappointments as his players prove they are worth their place in the Championship.

“You’re trying to be very careful with how you choose your words,” he said.

“When I left the Forest ground after they played West Brom, I genuinely thought to myself, ‘I can’t wait to play them’ because they were that good.

“So to come off that pitch with them and draw 2-2 and genuinely feel you did enough to win the game, I think the lads should take great credit from that. At the minute there are a lot smiling faces which is nice to see.”