Wigan Athletic players ‘deserve chance to right a wrong’

Paul Cook at Southend
Paul Cook at Southend

Paul Cook says his Wigan Athletic stars have earned the right to get themselves back on track – starting on Tuesday night against Blackpool.

Latics suffered a 3-1 reversal at Southend on Saturday, their first in 17 matches, after under-performing across the board.

Cook, though, says he will resist the temptation to make wholesale changes – out of loyalty to the players who’ve served him so well over the course of this season.

“Sometimes these things just happen,” said Cook of the Southend setback.

“You can over-analyse stuff, but I think our players have deserved the chance to put this right on Tuesday.

“All good things must come to an end.

“Unfortunately for us it came to an end with a big bump, but hopefully we’ve earned the benefit of the doubt from the fans.

“We haven’t had many of those days.

“There haven’t been many times we’ve travelled home with that feeling.

“I can assure the supporters we won’t just be brushing it under the carpet.

“But at the same time I will very rarely if ever criticise the players in the media or outside the club.

“I don’t find an awful lot to be unhappy about at the moment – albeit I’m not the happiest man in the world.”

Cook admitted he was struggling to find any positives from the weekend, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be throwing the baby out with the bath water.

“I can only continue to bang the drum about his much I trust these players,” he said.

“Does that mean we’ll automatically win on Tuesday night? Never in a million years!

“Does it mean I continue to trust them regardless of the result? Of course I will.

“They’re a very good set of lads to work with, and I can see how much it hurts them to get beat.

“Our dressing room wasn’t a happy place to be on Saturday, and I think our supporters will be glad to hear that.

“After being on such a great run, there’s obviously going to be huge disappointment when we don’t win.

“We had something similar over Christmas when we had the three goalless draws at home – but nobody speaks about that any more.

“That’s football. Times changes everything so fast. Let’s just go again.”

Cook would be forgiven for contemplating changes, especially with a huge FA Cup fifth-round tie against Manchester City coming up next Monday.

The Latics boss, however, says that match is not even entering his thinking.

“I don’t know how your house operates, but in my house we wake up on Monday, and then it’s Tuesday, then Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he smiled.

“And that’s the way we look at it...we look at the next game, which is Blackpool on Tuesday, and we’ll look at Manchester City after that.

“Obviously when you’ve got a game as big as Manchester City, it is hard to put it on the backburner.

“But at the same time the Blackpool game is also massive, and we’re all well aware of that. In the context of our season, there’s one game that’s more important than the other, and we know what that is.”