Paul Cook believes Wigan Athletic have ‘lost a little bit of our mojo’ - after shipping three goals in the home draw against Scunthorpe.
Despite twice taking the lead in the first half through Chey Dunkley and Will Grigg, Latics were pegged back by a Tom Hopper brace by the interval.
For most of the second half, Latics even looked like losing the game thanks to Ivan Toney’s 53rd-minute effort, before substitute Gary Roberts equalised with three minutes to go.
After shipping only 13 goals in their first 28 league games, Latics have now conceded an alarming 10 in the last five matches - which Cook says cannot continue.
“Defensively, as a team, we’re not quite at it - and that’s not blaming anyone,” the Latics boss said.
“As a team, we’ve just lost a little bit of our mojo.
“We must get that back - and that’s down to me and the players.
“We took the lead with a good goal, and when we take the lead we normally go on and win the game. But it was never like that today - never like that.
“Scunthorpe were brave in their approach to the game and the personnel they had on the pitch.
“When we got the leg up we had to immediately take a step back.
“And when Scunthorpe got their noses in front, you couldn’t really see us getting a goal back.
“But great credit to my players for the way they got themselves back into it.”
.Cook had made only two changes to his starting line-up - Reece James and David Perkins for Callum Elder and Gavin Massey - but the side looked disjointed from the off, and it didn’t get much better for the duration.
“Everyone always goes on about the shape and the balance of the team,” acknowledged Cook.
“Sometimes, in your quest to make things better - even with our initial subs - we were all over the place for five or 10 minutes.
“And that’s what can happen in this game.
“It’s very easy for managers to knock players - but we will never knock players at this club.
“Yes there are reasons why we are suddenly conceding more goals than we have all season.
“But too many people in the game want to always point the finger at someone.
“In football, there’s such a blame culture.
“When you’ve got someone to blame, everything’s all right.
“We’re still on the way to hopefully really achieving something special this season.
“The last couple of home games have been really disappointing for us, we know that - that’s part and parcel of football.
“The crowd - and I thought our crowd were great today - clamour for change, and you have to be careful with what you wish for.
“I thought Scunthorpe were excellent today, they really deserved something.
“We took a point, we wanted more, but that’s another tough game out of the way.
“It’s still very much in our hands, and you want that as a manager.
“We know if we win our remaining games, we are promoted.”
Cook also saw the irony in Toney grabbing Scunthorpe’s third goal - having struggled to get on to the field during the first half of the season, during his loan spell at the DW from Newcastle.
“That’s football, come on,” he grimaced. “Lads returning to their old clubs always have something extra to get them going.
“In fairness to Ivan, I’ve always said - and I still think - he’s a top player.
“People forget sometimes he’s still a young boy, and he has a long way to go in the game.
“But I wish him every success because he’s a great lad.
“Maybe a few people saw today a few reasons why we brought him to the club in the first place.”