Gary Caldwell insists Wigan Athletic are still in ‘a fantastic position’ to win promotion despite going into Tuesday’s clash at Burton on the back of a woeful performance and deserved defeat at Doncaster.
Struggling Rovers had been without a win since January 2, but kept alive their hopes of avoiding the drop to League Two with a convincing 3-1 victory at the Keepmoat.
Will Grigg had given Latics the lead against the run of play four minutes before half-time, after great work from Yanic Wildschut.
But second-half goals from Andy Butler (2) and Andy Williams from the penalty spot secured a precious three points.
Latics are now just three points clear of Burton at the top, and six points ahead of third-placed Walsall - who have a game in hand - ahead of Tuesday’s massive six-pointer at the Pirelli.
But Caldwell isn’t about to throw the baby out with the bath water just yet.
“It’s in our hands,” the Latics boss pointed out.
“It’s a bad day, but these things happen in football, and we take it on the chin.
“We have to recover now and look forward to Tuesday night.
“It’s still within our grasp, and we’re capable of winning the games we need to win to clinch promotion and win the league.
“We’re still in a fantastic position - a position we would have taken six or seven months ago.
“There’s four games to go, and we’re well capable of winning them all.
“This is a bad day, but it will hopefully act as a wake-up call heading into a massive game at Burton.”
Latics will face the Brewers without key midfielder David Perkins, who was given a straight red card after pulling down Gary McSheffrey for Doncaster’s penalty two minutes from time.
Despite Perkins’ immense value to the side, Caldwell admitted an appeal would be a waste of time.
“He was the last man and the laws of the game say he’s got to go,” added the Scot.
“We opened up too much, we became a bit too cavalier at that point, when I felt we didn’t need to.
“We were still in the game at 2-1, and that all-but ended the game.”
Wigan’s unhappy afternoon was summed up by the substitution of Conor McAleny - who wasn’t injured - with six minutes of the first half still remaining.
“I could have made a few changes at that point to be honest,” acknowledged Caldwell.
“I felt we needed something to shake us into life - I thought we looked flat for some reason.
“It did for a little spell, it kind of gave everyone a bit of a shock.
“Conor was the unfortunate one, because there could have been two or three who might have come off.
“In the second half we tried to match them up in midfield, go man for man, and make it an individual battle.
“But we didn’t win enough of them, and when you don’t win your battles it’s difficult to get control of the game.”