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‘We were naive with the goals we conceded’ - Wigan Athletic boss

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

Paul Cook reckoned the ‘key moments’ went against Wigan Athletic in the 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest at the DW Stadium.

Latics had the better of an entertaining Championship clash, but couldn’t make the most of twice taking the lead, through Nick Powell and a Will Grigg penalty.

Matty Cash took advantage of a mistake by Sam Morsy to level for Forest on the 10 minute mark, while Hillal Soudani equalised right at the death - from the rebound after Christian Walton had saved Lewis Grabban’s penalty, after referee Geoff Eltringham had awarded the visitors a penalty right on full-time.

But when asked whether Latics should have been out of sight long before the late drama, Cook didn’t want to go down that track.

“You’ve got to be careful, because when you start speaking like that, you can sound a bit disrespectful,” the Latics boss said.

“I felt we played the game as we wanted to, and it panned out as we hoped it would.

“The key moments went against us - for example Forest’s equaliser when we were in the ascendancy.

“You always know a good side like Forest will have a good spell.

“To suggest we should have been out of sight, I wouldn’t go that far.

“Could we have scored one more goal? Maybe, yes, maybe. But a draw is a draw, and it is what it is.

“When you’re talking about a team like Forest, with calibre like that, they’re always capable of hurting you no matter what stage of the game it is.

“If I’m being truthful, I felt we did do enough to win the game, but football doesn’t work like that.

“But while we’re disappointed with the result, I don’t think anyone inside the stadium would be disappointed with how we performed.

“I think we’d admit we were very naive with the goals we conceded.

“But sometimes you have to learn on the job - and that goes for most professions.

“Three of the lads at the back were playing only their third games for the club.

“Sam Morsy came up with a mistake for the first goal, but that’s going to happen with the way we play.

“There’ll be no criticism whatsoever from me about any of my players, that’s for sure.”

For the second Saturday in a row, Latics conceded in stoppage-time - as they did in the 3-2 defeat at Aston Villa last weekend - which has robbed them of THREE points already.

Cook, though, insists his side do not have an Achilles heel in seeing games out.

“It’s just football, nothing more that that,” he insisted.

“At that stage, teams are obviously going for it more than they are at the start of a game.

“Forest were putting the ball forward a lot faster than they ever were during the rest of the game.

“At that stage, it becomes all hands to the pump, and decisions will be analysed more because they score.

“There’s a lot of games where the opposition don’t score from incidents like today, and nothing gets spoken about.

“Things like the penalty at the game, Jedi and Sammy, they have to learn.

“But this is a very unforgiving league, and there’s no margin for error.”

He also defended his double substitution with 15 minutes to go, when he withdrew both goalscorers, Powell and Grigg, in favour of Callum Connolly and James Vaughan.

“We just wanted to keep up the pressure at the front edge of the pitch,” he added.

“If you look at the work those lads are putting in, it’s natural they’ll run out of petrol towards the end.

“For us it’s important we keep up that pressure at the top end, and that’s why the subs were made.”