Malky Mackay: Injuries “affected the team”

Leon Clarke receies treatment
Leon Clarke receies treatment

MALKY Mackay admits he’s at a loss to try to comprehend the misfortune that is affecting Wigan Athletic at the moment.

Latics slumped to a 3-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers Charlton last night to remain mired in the bottom three of the Championship.

Their cause wasn’t helped by the loss before half-time of William Kvist (hamstring) and Leon Clarke (neck), on the back of the season-ending departure of loan star Chris Herd earlier in the week.

With Grant Holt and Emyr Huws already out for the campaign, and Juan Carlos Garcia having been recently diagnosed with leukaemia, Mackay is down to the bare bones at a crucial point.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this in all my years as a player and a manager in terms of the way things have happened with illness and injury,” Mackay mused.

“We bring in a new midfield partnership in Chris Herd and William Kvist – and we lose Herd for the season and now we lose Kvist, who is another very important player for us.

“To compound that we have an incredibly strange situation with Leon Clarke, who is on a spinal board taking oxygen at half-time, with an issue with his neck and spine, and off to hospital.”

The doom and gloom at the end was in stark contrast to the mood at the beginning, with Latics enjoying almost total dominance of the opening exchanges before it all went wrong.

Goals from Frederic Bulot and Igor Vetokele had Charlton two up by the interval, with substitute Chris Eagles adding icing to the cake in the dying seconds.

“For the first 15 minutes we started as well as we have done, I thought we were terrific,” the Latics chief acknowledged.

“We sent 16 balls across their box, young Sheyi Ojo was on fire, and even after their first goal I thought we were going to get it back.

“To lose Kvist and Clarke so quickly affected the team, and the way Herd and Kvist play in midfield - their attitude and the way they go about the game - would certainly have helped on that pitch.

“After losing key players it’s not easy to click straight back in to the game. You can’t lose key players and expect everything to be the same again.

“I make no apology for going for it in the second half and losing a third goal on the counter at the end.

“I wanted us to go for it and get back into the game, and I was given cause for hope in that second half.”

Latics remain six points adrift of safety heading into this afternoon’s programme of matches.

“It’s three points lost, and we’ll see how the results go over the weekend,” Mackay added.

“We’ve just got to keep looking at the game in front of us and the points in front of us.”