UWE Rosler says the Wigan Athletic squad owe it to their fans to put in the best performance possible against NK Maribor.
Latics’ Europa League fate is out of their own hands, as they must rely on Rubin Kazan beating Zulte Waregem if they are to stand any chance of progressing from the group stages.
Before they even look at that game though, Wigan must get three points themselves – and the new manager is going all out to get them in his first game.
More than 1,000 fans are in Slovenia to cheer on the side and the German wants to do them proud.
“It is a great number that the club has brought, the town has really embraced the competition,” said Rosler.
“It’s a fantastic achievement for our club to win the FA Cup last year and being part of such a tremendous cup competition and that shows with the number of our supporters have come here and we want to make them proud.
“Our motivation should be – and will be – very high. We owe that to ourselves we are professionals and we owe it to the supporters, who have come a long way to Slovenia supporting us.”
Rosler hasn’t had much time to mull over his players and impress his style upon them.
In the little time he has had though he believes the squad has the quality to turn Latics’ form around.
“There have been a lot of things to do – assessing the staff, assessing the players and a lot of thinking about organisation around the first team travelling and also concentrating on the game,” he said.
“We have a very competitive squad out here, there will be a few changes from last Saturday. It’s a great opportunity for me to see players in a competitive environment where they can show themselves and impress me.
“Confidence only comes through winning football games. We have lost five in a row and we have to turn a corner – and we will turn a corner.
“Everybody I have seen in training is focused, wants to make an impression and is willing to take new things on board.”
Rosler held his third training session as Wigan manager at Maribor’s Stadion Ljudski vrt last night and believes it lends itself to the style of football he wants to play.
“The pitch looks decent. The stadium is a modern stadium, it’s a national stadium and I’ve been here before watching Slovenia playing,” he said.
“It’s not an environment for excuses. We are here to do business and we will give it our best. It’s a change of scenery, it’s a fantastic opportunity for the manager, for the coaching staff and first and foremost for the players to learn to cope with different types of football, and that can only make us better.”
One of the reasons attributed to Latics’ form not being at its best in recent weeks has been the added games in the Europa League.
It’s a theory Rosler also believes but also reckons getting through to the knockout stages would do no harm at all and Latics will be able to fight on two fronts.
“The group stage is a massive task for any Championship team,” he said.
“This is a massive task to be successful on both fronts especially with the intensity and the amount of games you have to face in the Championship.
“When you get out of the group stage it is possible.”