Michael Jacobs believes Wigan Athletic are ready to reinvent themselves after starting with ‘a clean slate’ under Warren Joyce.
The new Latics boss has been getting to know his new players behind closed doors at Euxton for the last fortnight during a perfectly-timed international break.
We’re learning about how he wants us to play, and he’s learning about us as a groupMichael Jacobs
They return to Championship action this weekend with a tough trip to Barnsley, but Jacobs hopes they can bounce back from a horror show against Reading in Joyce’s first outing.
“When a new manager comes in, it’s a clean slate for everyone and a real chance for everyone to impress,” Jacobs told Wigan Today.
“The training’s been good – hard but good – and we’re learning about how he wants us to play, and he’s learning about us as a group.
“It’s all been building up to the Barnsley game, and making sure we’re ready to show a reaction and get all thoughts of Reading out of the way.
“We obviously wanted to get off to a good start under the new manager, but going two goals down inside five minutes – especially against such a good team – is not what you want.
“I thought they actually reminded me a little bit of ourselves last year, with the way they were set up, playing out from the back and playing through lines.
“It was a tough game to be involved with, and the way we’d built ourselves up over the previous six weeks, when we’d picked up some good points with some good results, was very disappointing.
“We were making our way towards somewhere, the place was a bit more positive, and to get a result like that obviously hard to take.
“But we’ve taken the international break as a real positive, and the chance to prepare properly under the new manager for a couple of very tough away games.”
It will be far from easy against a Barnsley side that won promotion from League One via the play-offs last term, and who have adjusted to life in the second tier far better than Latics.
“It’s a difficult division, there’s some strong sides in there, and momentum is a big thing,” Jacobs recognised.
“We obviously had a lot of change over the summer, a lot of the old guard went out who were here before. Obviously the togetherness we had last year was massive, whenever we had tough points during the season we knew what we had to do and we dug in.
“It’s a different group of players this time – with a new manager now – and it has taken us a little bit of time to get going.
“You look around the dressing room now and we have got a nice balance in there – some older boys, some younger boys, and me and the middle-aged boys sitting in there as well.
“It’s a nice atmosphere, we get on well, but it’s about picking up results at the end of the day.
“We’ve got to make sure we stick together, because we’re the only ones who are going to get us out of this situation.”
Having played against them last season in League One – with both teams sharing one win apiece – Jacobs says Latics will not be under-estimating their opponents.
“You only need to look at the quality they have there and the momentum they’ve taken from winning the play-offs,” he acknowledged.
“They’ve done quite well so far, and we know it’s going to be a tough game.
“Barnsley away was probably the defining moment of our season last year, when we went there after a sticky run of games and managed to win 2-0.
“That was a sort of platform for us to go on and achieve what we achieved at the end of the year, and if we can go there and do a similar job, quieten the crowd down, we should do all right.
“We also owe them one because of what happened here on the last day of last season.
“The fact the rolled us over 4-1 was really disappointing, especially when it was a day of celebration because we’d won the league.”