GARY Caldwell admitted Wigan Athletic’s below-par display in the goalless draw with Oldham was ‘unacceptable’.
Latics blew the chance to move up to second in League One after being held at home by the struggling visitors.
And the ‘other’ Latics could easily have pulled off a shock win had Jussi Jaaskelainen not made three fabulous saves in the first half.
It wasn’t exactly the way Caldwell wanted to warm up for next weekend’s crunch clash against fellow promotion-chasers Walsall.
“I’ve told the players that there’s a big week of training ahead,” Caldwell fumed.
“If I was a player who wasn’t playing today, I’d think I had a chance of playing next week.
“Everyone wants to win, but you have to know how.
“We made silly errors, we didn’t back up play, we were lethargic in the way we passed the ball and also when we didn’t have the ball.
“It was a bad day, a poor performance, a sloppy performance right from the start
“I’d say we got what we deserved, but we probably didn’t even deserve a point.
“Oldham played very well and caused us a lot of problems, and we have to be thankful we got a point in the end.”
Right from the off, Latics failed to hit their straps, and they had to wait until the final quarter to really work Oldham stopper Joel Coleman.
Will Grigg came closest to breaking the deadlock, but his low shot was superbly saved by Coleman at his near post.
At the other end, Carl Winchester twice and Cameron Dummigan forced Jaaskelainen into brilliant saves before the break.
“We shouldn’t have gone in 0-0 at half-time,” acknowledged Caldwell. “We should have been losing the game.
“We rode our luck, Jussi made some great saves, and we just can’t accept performances like that.
“It was flat, there wasn’t enough urgency in the way we played, we didn’t pass the ball quick enough in the final third and we didn’t look hungry enough to get at people.
“We defended well at times, but we didn’t react to situations in terms of their movement, and we didn’t want to track runners.
“When we got the ball, we wanted to stand in position, and football’s not that easy.
“You’ve got to work hard, you’ve got run, if you want to move teams.
“When they got back into their shape, we were too predictable in the way we played.
“We have to do something about it quickly, and to be fair we have done that in the past.
“Whenever we’ve had setbacks in terms of poor results and performances, it’s galvanised us and we’ve come back stronger.
“I’m sure that’ll be the case again next weekend.”
It’s not the first time a struggling side has raised their game against Latics, who failed to score three goals in a home game for the first time since the 1-0 loss to Blackpool on December 12.
“I wouldn’t say Oldham shut up shop, but we definitely see a level of performance that’s greater than in other games,” acknowledged the Wigan boss.
“We’re not going to cry about that, though.
“We have to accept it, and use it as a positive.
“When teams come here, they know they’re playing against a good team and we have to raise our own game every week.
“That’s our challenge, and we have been doing that in recent weeks.
“Today, it just wasn’t there. It didn’t happen.
“We dust ourselves down and we train hard next week ahead of a massive game against Walsall.
“The closer you get to the end of the season, the more vital the results become.
“The pressure intensifies, and that’s when you have to stand up as a footballer.
“We’ll have to deal with that pressure, as will those teams who are above us in the table.”