GARY Caldwell has implored Latics to get off on the right foot at Aston Villa tomorrow – or risk extending their miserable run of results.
Last weekend’s defeat at home to Tottenham was Wigan’s fourth on the spin, after a reasonably bright start to the season.
Wigan were always behind the 8-ball after going two goals down inside the first quarter – the opener with just two minutes gone – both of which could be traced back to defensive errors.
All that meant Momo Diame’s fine effort at the start of the season half counted for nothing, despite the home side’s rousing finish to the game.
And Caldwell has called on his colleagues to be on their game right from their outset so they aren’t always having to play catch-up.
“When you start a game like we did last week, against a team as good as Tottenham, you’re always going to be up against it,” he told the Evening Post.
“As good as they played, we feel we kind of gifted them their goals and gave ourselves too much of a mountain to climb.
“Although we showed great heart, great fight, we dug in and nearly got something out of the game, the over-riding emotion was disappointment that we didn’t start the game as well as we finished it.
“It’s all-too easy in football to criticise individuals and look at the negatives, which we’ve obviously discussed in-house and looked at trying to improve upon.
“But we have to take positives from the game into Aston Villa tomorrow, and try to continue the way we left off at the end.”
The mood at the DW is a far cry from a month ago, when Latics were riding high after an unbeaten first three games of the campaign. But the skipper insists no-one in the dressing room is ready to throw the towel in just yet.
“It’s obviously been a difficult few weeks for us – we’ve lost four on the spin and we need to put that right as soon as possible,” he added.
“Our management and our coaching staff work as hard as anyone and they’ll be showing us where we went wrong and how we can make it right.”
Of course, that will be easier said than done, with the Villa side packed with quality attacking players – none more so than ex-Latics winger Charles N’Zogbia.
“Charles was a fantastic player for this club, but the time came for him to leave and go on to a different challenge in his career,” Caldwell recognised.
“We all know how good a player he is and we’ll have to be wary of him on Saturday.
“He’ll be up for it – playing against your old club is always exciting and a big challenge.
“But it’s not just Charles – Villa are a very good attacking side, with a lot of pace about them, and we’ll be trying to control the game and imposing our way of playing on them.”