McArthur gunning for Maribor

James McArthur
James McArthur
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JAMES McArthur wants Wigan Athletic to deliver a massive message on the European stage on Thursday.

Latics went down to a controversial defeat at fellow promotion-chasers Watford on Saturday, having dominated the majority of the encounter.

But they have the perfect opportunity to respond on Thursday in the club’s first-ever home game in Europe.

Slovenian outfit NK Maribor provide the opposition on what will be an historic night.

And McArthur says if Latics can maintain their recent performance levels, they’ll put themselves in a fabulous position to make further progress.

“We want to do well in Europe, we want to do the club and the town proud, and that’s what we’ll aim to do,” he told the Evening Post.

“We started well with a point on the road in Belgium, but that point will only be a good one if we can go on and get three against Maribor.”

Despite the defeat at Watford – when Latics saw a goal wrongly chalked off and had a strong shout for a penalty turned down – McArthur didn’t feel there was much wrong with the display.

“I actually thought that was our best performance of the year,” McArthur said.

“It was far more like us, and if we can maintain that standard we’ll be okay.

“Obviously it’s going to take time to get used to this league, but I thought we coped very well and the signs were very encouraging.

“Things didn’t go our way, but these things happen in football. It’s obviously very frustrating but you just need to get on with it.

“Having played so well, I think the worst we should have been coming in with was a 0-0 draw. But it wasn’t to be and we go again on Thursday.”

Boss Owen Coyle, having made nine and eight changes respectively in the last two games, will again shuffle his pack for Thursday’s tie.

McArthur, though, is not about to ask his gaffer for the night off.

“It’s gruelling, the games are coming thick and fast but it’s also very enjoyable,” he added.

“Playing three games in the space of five days is obviously hard on the legs, but we’ve got a good squad and we rotate well.

“You know you’re always going to get your chance in a situation like this, with there being so many games and it being frantic.

“But as a player, you want to play games. That’s what it’s all about.”