`

Wigan Athletic ‘won’t kick City off park’

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

Paul Cook insists Wigan Athletic won’t resort to kicking Manchester City off the park in an attempt to give themselves a fighting chance of an FA Cup shock.

Opposite number Pep Guardiola has taken issue on several occasions this term to challenges on his players than could be described at best as over-eager.

However, Cook says the City boss need worry not about Wigan’s players over-stepping the mark to try to level the playing field.

“I wouldn’t be a manager like that,” said Cook. “My teams wouldn’t play that way.

“I’m not criticising Pep or anyone, but every team is entitled to play how they want to win the game. How you go about it is your way.

“Pep alluded to some tackles on his players, which you have to agree with. But football is a physical contact game.

“People can’t just allow Manchester City to do what they want.

“If you don’t have players as good as theirs, people will try and win a football game in a different way. That’s just our culture – it doesn’t make it right or wrong for me.

“For us, we’ve got to do something which disrupts Man City, that’s the reality of it. On a big carpet of a pitch, if you sit off Man City, it might become a cricket score.

“That’s how good they are. So for us, in English football, we’ve got to do something different, whatever that may be.

“But I would always like my team to be spoken about as one that plays the game the right way.

“And one that will try and win a game of football, albeit we know how difficult that will be.”

Having been brought up as a Liverpool supporter during the glory days of the 1970s and 1980s, Cook knows a thing or two about enjoying a football dynasty.

But he is reluctant to compare the modern-day City team – or any other side – against his heroes.

“You’ve got to be careful with football and there’s all different ways of playing,” Cook opined.

“For me, my boyhood idol was Kenny Dalglish, and that Liverpool team.

“As a result, I like our teams to dominate the ball, but it doesn’t make us right or wrong. For me growing up as a Liverpool fan, I like to see football played that way.

“The biggest thing about management is you only feel pressure when you’re getting beat. There are not many teams in football who don’t go long quick when they’re getting beat, so everyone’s values get thrown out the window and it’s hard then.

“The biggest debate for the modern game has been the one up-front. It’s seen as a negative formation.

“With all due respect to Pep and the money he has spent on full-backs, they are not to defend you know!

“(Kyle) Walker and the other fella are up and down.

“I go back to Liverpool when they had Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish, and people said Liverpool were 4-4-2.

“Liverpool never played 4-4-2 in their lifetime!

“Dalglish always dropped off and received the ball as a No 10. But there was no such thing as a No.10 back then.

“At the end of the day, it’s 11 v 11.

“Someone has got to attack and someone has got to score.”