Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook readily admitted the 4-0 drubbing at north-west neighbours Preston North End was ‘the biggest disappointment I’ve had since I’ve been at the club’.
And the Latics boss acknowledged he didn’t have enough time with the media to digest what went wrong during an instantly unforgettable afternoon.
“Every team’s going to have their own aspirations of certain stuff, and along the way you’re going to have disappointments,” he said.
“And this was probably the biggest disappointment I’ve had since I’ve been at the club.
“As a manager, you’ve got to be a strong character, and you’ve got to be the one who leads from the front.
“You’ve got to analyse everything...and that’s not slamming doors and shouting at people.
“The question is: ‘What can we do better’?
“And if you’ve got an hour, we can start listing the things we could have done better.
“But I’m not going to go down that road with the players.
“The players are the ones who make managers look good.
“And unfortunately. on days like this, if the players keep playing like that, and keep getting those results, managers get sacked.
“And I’m fully prepared for that, and whatever football brings.”
Despite the drubbing, Latics lie 11th in the Championship table - just a point off the play-offs - heading into the second international break of the campaign.
And Cook says the way the side has played so far means they can be forgiven an extremely rare off-day.
“If you’re looking at Wigan Athletic at the moment, and the reason we’re sitting where we are, is because we’ve offered so many good days this season - and I think that’s massively important to remember,” he said.
“I’m certainly not someone who’ll be apologising to the fans.
“Because, as a supporter myself, following your team will involve massive disappointments.
“Today, we’ve under-achieved for our fans, and they’ll go back to Wigan hurt.
“For that, I can tell them I am every bit as hurt as they are.
“They’ll go home disappointed, but we have to respect the fact the best team on the day won the game.
“I’ve got no complaints that Preston were full value for their win.
“They showed a lot more appetite than we did, created more chances, and we just flirted with what we tried to do.
“When that’s the case, and you’re not great at both ends of the pitch, you get results like this.
“But we’ll always try to conduct ourselves with manners, respect the opposition and move on.”