Coyle’s heady mix of pride and annoyance

Grant Holt on the ball
Grant Holt on the ball
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OWEN Coyle admitted he was ‘annoyed’ at Wigan Athetic’s 1-0 defeat to Rubin Kazan last night.

Latics fell to a first-half goal from Oleg Kuzmin, that consigned them to defeat for the first time in their Europa League campaign.

The Russians were good value for their lead at the break, but the visitors undoubtedly shaded the second period and could easily have gone home with something.

Thomas Rogne headed against the crossbar, while James McClean flicked Jordi Gomez’s cross just past the far post in a rousing finale.

“I think we always knew it would be a tough game, but I was a little bit annoyed from our point of view,” observed Coyle.

“It was a soft goal to lose, but in the second half, we dominated a very good side.

“We certainly shouldn’t be leaving here on the end of a 1-0 scoreline.

“We have hit the woodwork and had numerous chances in the second half.

“For our first foray in European football, I think it was an outstanding performance – we looked like a very mature European team and I was delighted with them.

“My only disappointment is to leave with no points, because we certainly deserved to take something from the game. I felt the players were a credit to the football club, which I asked for.”

Rubin’s win means they have virtually wrapped up Group D having picked up 10 points from their four matches. But Latics remain in second place, and favourites to qualify for the knockout stages as runners-up.

“I think at the outset, everybody felt – and rightly so – that Rubin would be the favourites to win the group,” Coyle added.

“I don’t think there was any argument about that given their European pedigree.

“But with what we have shown in the two games, both home and away against Rubin, is that our fate is in our own hands, and we are confident going into the last two games.

“We have the quality to progress from the group. We have to keep putting in performances like tonight and if we do that it will see us earn enough points to qualify for the knockout stages.

“There was a lot to be pleased about. We were really pushing on to win the game.

“We acquitted ourselves very well, put in an outstanding team performance, and on another day it would have resulted in not even a draw but a win for us. So there are a lot of positives and a lot to be pleased about.”

The Latics chief also believed his side could easily have been awarded a penalty in the first half, when Roger Espinoza was bundled to the ground as he ran into the Rubin penalty area.

“I have seen it back and I don’t know if it was inside the box, I have to say,” he recognised.

“But it was a clear foul on Roger.

“He has been pushed in the back and the lad was coming back laughing because it was so obvious.

“I was 50 yards away and wondering why someone can not see that.

“It’s a clear push on Roger, but it’s not been given and those things happen in football.

“But without that, we still could have affected the result with our own play and quality.

“We hit the woodwork, the Rubin keeper has done well under pressure at various moments – but all credit to them.

“They are a wonderful club, they have made us feel very welcome, and we certainly hope we can progress with them to the knockout stages.”