Warren Joyce bemoaned a scrappy second half in West London where Latics came away empty-handed at QPR.
Wigan went down 2-1 and while they went toe-to-toe with their hosts in a frantic first half, they were second best after the break.
I can’t fault them for giving everything they’ve got. During the second half, we weren’t in good areasWarren Joyce
Goals from Matt Smith and Conor Washington cancelled out Omar Bogle’s penalty – his 22nd goal of the season making him top scorer in all four divisions – leaving Wigan two points adrift in the bottom three having played two games more than Bristol City and Blackburn who they sit in between.
“I thought we did step off the gas in the second half and didn’t pick second balls up,” admitted Joyce.
“QPR were driving the game, they’re a very good side who are at home with a lot of expensive players.
“I thought they were better than us in the second half but I don’t think it’s through lack of effort.
“We were under plenty of pressure from how direct they are and the lad Conor Washington is a handful in the air so he’s going to win a lot of first balls and we’ve got to be alive for the second ball.
“The first goal comes from their kick but the second goal comes from our kick down the middle and we didn’t pick the ball up so they were both poor goals where we weren’t carved open or even on the back foot.”
Latics have now played six games in 16 days, with that showing in the second half as they began to tire.
However, Joyce praised his players for battling through, despite not getting the points they need.
He said: “The fitness levels have been tremendous during that spell, even at the end tonight we were driving the game and could have scored the equaliser because there’s that much desire to do it but we’re disappointed with how we gifted goals.
“I can’t fault them for giving everything they’ve got. During the second half, we weren’t in good areas.”
Wigan picked up five bookings on a night when the referee seemed intent on blowing for most 50-50 challenges with Joyce saying some of his decisions “weren’t the best”.
But the Wigan boss offered no excuses, admitting that QPR were worthy winners.
He had made just the one change to the side that drew to Preston on Saturday with Shaun MacDonald out through injury.
And after the game Joyce admitted that MacDonald, alongside playmaker Michael Jacobs, will more than likely miss this Saturday’s crunch game against fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest at the DW Stadium.