Paul Cook is adamant Wigan Athletic have it in them to bounce back from their ‘first real disappointment’ of the campaign – ahead of Tuesday night’s big game at Charlton.
Latics have travelled down to the capital looking to exorcise the demons from Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Shrewsbury, their first league loss under Cook.
And the Latics chief is keen to draw a line under the weekend, and start from scratch at the Valley against the in-form Addicks, who have climbed to second in the table.
“It’s the first real disappointment we’ve had in the league,” Cook acknowledged.
“We were all a bit disappointed after the Portsmouth game last month, especially with the sending-off (of Chey Dunkley) which we thought probably cost us the chance to win the game.
“On Saturday, the game huffed and puffed, without any real quality in it.
“My major disappointment was the fact I feel we usually bring the real quality.
“As a team, that’s what I want to see us do.
“Obviously when you go a goal down, that task becomes harder and harder.
“But I would constitute Saturday’s game as being typical of what we’re going to face this season.
“Teams will want to frustrate us, get men behind the ball and play on the counter-attack.
“We’ve got to be better than that, and be able to compensate for that.
“We’ve got to know what’s coming and be more patient, and more clinical in our play.”
Cook hopes his side learned a valuable lesson in Shropshire, which will stand them in good stead for the rest of the season.
“We’ve had a lot of plaudits so far with the way we’ve started in the league,” he recognised.
“But when all you’ve had is plaudits, it is difficult to manage disappointment like that.
“It’s something we have to learn to do as a team and a club.
“But the only way we can do that is by picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves down.
“Teams around you haven’t started as well, but all of a sudden they’re starting to do a bit better.
“People will look for excuses, but I don’t.
“All I will do is keep working hard and trying to make the team better.
“Come the end of the season, everyone will finish where they deserve to.”
Cook is looking forward to locking horns in the technical area with Karl Robinson, a fellow Liverpudlian who also wears his heart on his sleeve.
“I like Karl because he’s a character more than anything,” enthused Cook.
“Nowadays my criticism of coaches and FA products is we’re creating robotic-type people.
“Football’s a very emotional game, and I believe – without sounding cynical – you don’t get over defeats quickly.
“If you’re a manager with something about you, it hurts to lose.
“If losing games doesn’t hurt then there’s something wrong.
“I think Karl’s very charismatic, and he certainly sends his teams out to play good football.
“Good luck to Karl, and good luck to Shrewsbury who went top on Saturday.
“But it’s a long season, and nowadays people do look at league tables far too quickly.
“Certainly after five or six games, it’s still about getting your team organised and working out how you’re going to play.
“As we head into the winter, certainly Charlton will be one of the teams I would expect to be up there.
“Karl’s had promotions, he’s very knowledgeable about the division, his teams play very good football, and it’ll be a big test for us.”