Caldwell reflects on ‘great weekend’ overall for Latics

Gary Caldwell and Jurgen Klopp at the DW
Gary Caldwell and Jurgen Klopp at the DW

Boss Gary Caldwell is confident Wigan Athletic are where they need to be at this stage of pre-season, despite suffering back-to-back home defeats over the weekend.

Latics went down 2-0 to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on Sunday, 24 hours after Jose Mourinho kicked-off his Manchester United reign with an identical victory.

But Caldwell was anxious to look at the bigger picture, and is remaining buoyant despite the new Championship campaign being less than three weeks away.

“Obviously we don’t like losing games first and foremost,” he told the Evening Post.

“But in terms of the quality we’ve managed to play against, and the fans we’ve managed to get into the DW, it’s been a great weekend.

“Two games, both sets of players have got through 90 minutes, and that’s great for the physical work we need to do at this moment in time.

“Obviously playing against this standard of opposition tests us, and we can see what we need to improve on.

“We’ve come through it unscathed injury-wise, and we’re ready to go into the next three weeks and make sure we’re ready for Bristol City on the opening day.

“The players have coped with it, the squad has coped with it, and we managed to get a lot of young boys on towards the end which will be great for their development.

“All in all we’ve come out of the weekend with far more positives than negatives.”

Latics did well to hold out for 70 minutes against a Liverpool side that hit the woodwork twice inside the opening 14 minutes through Coutinho.

But the visitors eventually found their way through in the final quarter, with Danny Ings and 16-year-old Ben Woodburn scoring in the space of three minutes.

“It was another great work-out against a very good football team,” Caldwell acknowledged.

“The way they move the ball, the rotation they have, the movement they have, it’s very difficult to contain.

“Again I thought the effort and application of the players was fantastic.

“We were just let down by basic errors on the ball and were then punished for those mistakes.

“I thought it was quite similar to the United game if I’m being honest.

“We contained them quite well, although on the ball we could have done a lot more.

“We probably created quite a few more opportunities, although we couldn’t take them.”

The pick of the Latics side was youngster Jordan Flores, who volleyed wide in the opening exchanges and more than held his own in the midfield despite being a doubt in the lead-up.

“Jordan was excellent, even more so considering he’s been ill this week,” added the Latics boss.

“We didn’t really want to play him for as long as he did, but he felt okay so we probably kept him on longer than we should have.

“He put in a great shift, and when he puts in that work-rate then we know he has the quality.”