Mackay upbeat despite defeat

Josh Murphy makes his debut for Latics
Josh Murphy makes his debut for Latics

MALKY Mackay was once again left to bemoan a lack of cutting edge as Wigan Athletic failed to seize the opportunity to close the gap on their relegation rivals.

With Rotherham and Fulham not in action until tonight, Latics blew the chance to make inroads into the six-point gap to safety by crashing 2-0 at home to Watford.

I know people will talk about the home record, but we are playing well both home and away recently

Malky Mackay

The in-form Hornets went top of the table with the three points, but for long periods Latics were asking as many questions as they were being posed.

However, two goals from Troy Deeney proved the difference in a clash that otherwise could easily have gone either way.

Wigan’s misery at the DW Stadium – they are without a win on home soil since August 30 – continued, but the boss was far from downhearted after the game.

“We went toe-to-toe with them and for vast parts of the game we were equal with them,” recognised Mackay.

“Great credit to my players for the way they kept going, and I think the fans are seeing incredible strength and incredible performances from our team in terms of work ethic and effort.

“This group of players that’s come in this last six to eight weeks has shown these type of performances – home and away.

“I know people will talk about the home record, but we are playing well both home and away recently.

“We played Leeds a couple of weeks ago, and it was an incredible amount of stats in terms of the chances at their goal that we never scored.

“And tonight, to put 25 crosses in against one of the best teams in the division, shows you we’re playing okay.

“We’ve just got to keep going, there’s eight games to go, and we’ve got to win two more games than the sides above us. Simple as that.”

Deeney opened the scoring nine minutes into the second half with a bullet header, and he clinched the win right at the death from the penalty spot after Emmerson Boyce was adjudged to have brought down Fernando Forestieri.

“The penalty award looked harsh to me, but I thought there were some interesting decisions throughout the night that were given,” reflected the Latics chief.

“For me, it didn’t reflect the true nature of the game, 2-0.

“But I make no apologies for going for it in the second half.”

The Scot also hailed Watford’s match-winner, a player he signed for the Hornets back in 2010. “He’s absolutely terrific,” he said.