Paul Cook admitted Wigan Athletic looked ‘unbalanced’ and not in danger of scoring during the 1-0 defeat at Shrewsbury that ended his side’s unbeaten league start.
Latics produced, in Cook’s words, their worst performance under his stewardship, against the early pace-setters to slip to eighth in the fledgling table.
“I’ve never seen us make so many bad decisions on a pitch in terms of in possession,” moaned the Latics chief.
“I thought our shape looked unbalanced.
“We worked on allowing Shrewsbury to come at us, so we could attack them on the counter - and they’ve done it at will.
“If you randomly give the ball away, like we did, you will get hurt.
“The good thing for us was the fact we only conceded one goal.
“But did we really look like scoring second half? Not for me.
“And that’s the really disappointing thing for me.”
Latics had cause for a moan about the only goal, with Alex Bruce appearing to be fouled in the lead-up before Stefan Payne smashed past Jamie Jones.
“Goals change games don’t they?” mused Cook.
“The easiest thing in the world is to blame the officials, and that’s one thing we won’t do.
“The officials are out there to do their best - some days they go for you and some days they don’t.
“The reality is on the balance of 90 minutes of football, I feel - with the group we have - we should be creating and scoring goals.
“The pitch was lovely, there was a great travelling support - everything was set up for us today.
“We weren’t quite at it today - and that’s the most disappointing thing.
“And that’s genuinely the first time I can say that’s been the case since I’ve been here.
“Everything’s been great, everything’s been good, but I think you probably learn more about each other when it doesn’t go well than when it does.”
However, the Latics boss is not one for throwing the baby out with the bath-water.
“At the end of the day, we’ve lost a game of football,” he smiled.
“Come on...we’ve had a great start, but we’ve lost one game.
“The boys will be ready to go again at Charlton on Tuesday night.”
Cook also denied the decision to call off last week’s game against Northampton, because Latics had three players away on international duty, had contributed to the below-par display.
“Everyone will come up with different excuses about why we’ve lost the game,” he added.
“But football is a game where, if you’re not quite at it, if you’ve not quite got that edge...and I felt that edge wasn’t quite there.
“You’ve seen all of the games, and we’ve had that edge about us in every game so far.
“But our big players didn’t play great for us today.
“And as a manager you have to support the players, and back them.
“My great disappointment is we never managed sustained pressure in their half.
“You never really thought a goal was coming - it was a lot of effort without too much firepower.”