Warren Joyce admits Wigan Athletic have to find the right balance between defence and attack if they are to move away from the foot of the Championship – starting tonight at Huddersfield.
Latics travel to the John Smith’s Stadium second-bottom of the second tier, with only three wins from their opening 17 matches.
A meagre tally of 14 goals scored helps to explain their lowly position. And while the ‘goals against’ total of 19 is far from the worst in the division, Joyce says that doesn’t tell the full picture. “You’ve got to have a way of stopping goals and a way of scoring goals,” he told the Evening Post.
“We’ve obviously been working on all those things in training, and the better you do them in practice, the more chance you’ve got of seeing it happen in a match.
“We’ve got to be able to do both. There’s no point having free-flowing, expansive games if you can’t stop goals going in at the back. You’ve also got to out-score teams, and you’ve got to cover both bases.
“Everybody has to know their job, and be able to contribute, when the opposition has the ball, and having no passengers who aren’t contributing in getting the ball back. Then we get the ball, you need everybody knowing their role and being able to contribute in making chances and taking them.”
Given Wigan’s lack of goals this term, it’s been a surprise to see Will Grigg – last season’s League One golden boot winner with 29 – dropped to the bench in recent weeks. Joyce is reluctant to place too much emphasis on the Northern Ireland international.
“I’ve had more questions so far on Will Grigg than anybody else, and I would say at the minute I know less about him than any other player, because he’s not been here, he’s not trained, he’s been ill, and before that away on international duty,” he added.
“I know Sir Alex (Ferguson) used to give players four weeks off in the summer – Will had 10 days off.
“I don’t know, he might not have needed that, he might be ready to go. He’s just not been around training, and you want to be able to see what he really does.
“But he’s no different to any other player at the club.
“Whatever has happened in the past is irrelevant.
“The only thing that matters now is tomorrow, the day after, and the day after that.
“If players are good enough, in whatever position they play, they’ll prove that on the training ground and on the pitch.
“The same rules apply for everyone at the club.”