Gary Caldwell hailed goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen after the 40-year-old’s fourth clean sheet in five games helped Wigan Athletic to an emphatic 3-0 victory over Bury.
Goals from Will Grigg (2) and Ryan Colclough inside the first 20 minutes were enough to see off the Shakers, and extend Wigan’s unbeaten run to 12 matches.
But a double save from Jaaskelainen just before half-time to deny Tom Pope and Danny Mayor, and a stupendous effort shortly after the restart from Ryan Lowe’s header, prevented Bury getting any ideas of a comeback.
“The double save in the first half was incredible, but the save from the header at the start of the second half was probably even better,” gushed Caldwell.
“He’s got that level of focus and that attitude in training that makes him ready for games. We’ve got him to thank for the clean sheet, because we were a bit slack in certain moments of the game.
“We have to tighten up, because on another day we might have been punished.
“He’s been in sensational form, and he deserved his clean sheet more than anybody.”
Grigg’s brace brings to his total to the season to 16 - and eight in his last eight matches – and it would have been a second half-trick in three home games had he not cracked the bar with a stinging shot in the second half.
“It took Will a little bit of time to settle when he first came to the club, for various reasons,” acknowledged Caldwell. But now you can see the class he has, and he’s a dangerous striker to play against.
“His movement’s very good, he arrives in the box at the right time, his timing is perfect. And when you’ve got wingers like we have that supply him, he’s always going to get chances and he’ll put them away.”
Colclough, meanwhile, was notching his first goal for the club following his January arrival from Crewe.
“We’ve had to break Ryan into the team gently, but you can see the quality he has,” recognised Caldwell.
“For someone so young, he’s got great quality in one-against-one situations, and is very difficult to defend against. We knew if we could get the ball to him and Yanic (Wildschut), we would cause them problems - and we did that.”
Also impressive in the engine room was fellow January capture Sam Morsy, who scooped the sponsors’ man-of-the-match award for another imperious display. “Sam’s a great footballer, someone who’s very confident in possession of the ball,” added the Wigan boss.
“Our style suits him, where he can get on the ball and control games.
“I wanted him to be more expressive today, with his range of passing, and I thought he did that.
“He switched play well, he played in between lines, and he kept it simple when it was on.” The match ended on a niggly note when, after Max Power was crunched by Craig Jones, all 22 players became embroiled in a skirmish in centre-field that saw four players - including Wigan substitute Craig Davies - cautioned.
“It stemmed from a late tackle, and you’re always going to get them when you’re so in control as we were,” reflected Caldwell.
“There was a bit of a reaction, but it was all handbags, nothing very serious. It happens.”