Away form is ‘not a concern’ for Wigan Athletic boss

Paul Cook watches the action at Hillsborough
Paul Cook watches the action at Hillsborough

Paul Cook remains ‘unconcerned’ by Wigan Athletic’s worrying away form - despite Sheffield Wednesday inflicting a 13th defeat in 16 matches in all competitions on the road this term.

Steven Fletcher’s goal on the hour mark was the difference between the two sides at Hillsborough, but Cook was the first to concede Wednesday were ‘comfortably the better team’.

However, he won’t be losing sleep over the record away from the DW Stadium, despite Latics having won only once - at Stoke in August - on their travels.

“It’s not a concern for me, you just have to accept it,” he said.

“I was looking at the stats last night and we’re something like fifth bottom for away form (only Ipswich and Rotherham have won fewer away points than Latics in the Championship).

“I thought: ‘There must be some other teams struggling like mad on the road’!

“And it is tough...our last few games have been West Brom, Swansea, Sheffield Wednesday, and we go to Nottingham Forest next weekend.

“Thankfully our home form has been good, and the target for the season remains the same.

“If we remain in this league, we’ll all be quite happy.”

With Latics boasting one of the best home records in the division, Cook feels the bigger picture is the all-important one.

“All I’m concerned about is the points tally, and it’s always been the same,” he said.

“If we get to the end of the season and we’ve achieved a points tally that everyone’s happy with, that’ll do me.

“Where you pick up your points...it’s not irrelevant, of course it’s not, but it is very much secondary.

“The away form is what it is, there’s nothing we can do about that.

“We’re as disappointed as the fans, who’ve supported us magnificently again.

“But all we can do is go home, work hard and see where that takes us.

“Our lads always dig in, they keep working away, they always have a go.

“Were we honest today, did we do enough to try? Yes, course we did.

“Did we lack the quality and all the other stuff? Yes, of course we did.”

It was a far cry from last weekend’s 3-0 victory over Aston Villa, when Latics ran riot against one of the Championship’s powerhouses.

But Cook acknowledged the performance wasn’t anywhere near enough to justify a result.

“Disappointment would be a fair reflection of the game from our point of view,” he admitted.

“I thought Sheffield Wednesday started the game well, but we had our moments to be fair.

“We grew into the half, if you’re being truthful, we had one or two situations.

“But second half Sheffield Wednesday were comfortably the better team and they dominated the game.

“They created all the chances and we looked very limp - and nowhere near the side we looked last week.

“But that’s football, that’s life, and we must pat Sheffield Wednesday on the back...because second half we couldn’t handle them.

“From a very early point the game looked as though it might turn out to be a 1-0.

“It wasn’t the best spectacle in the world, it was very stop-start, but they deserved the win and we go away disappointed.”

Cook at least retained his sense of humour, when assessing the familiarity of what he was saying to the media post-match.

“I’d love to come in here and say ‘we got battered, we didn’t play very well, and we just want to go home and lick our wounds’...but I know that won’t suffice,” he grimaced.

“But we got battered, we didn’t play very well, and we just want to go home and lick our wounds...is that all right?”