Wigan Athletic ace reflects on 'surreal week - and plots the way forward

Curtis Tilt admits Wigan Athletic's players have come through a 'surreal week' following the departure of the man who put the entire dressing room together.
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Latics are in the midst of an interviewing process to find a new manager, after sacking Leam Richardson last Thursday.

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Despite a wretched run of results, Richardson remained a hugely popular figure both on and off the field for his service to Latics since joining in 2017.

Curtis Tilt is congratulated after his winning goal against Blackpool by Ashley FletcherCurtis Tilt is congratulated after his winning goal against Blackpool by Ashley Fletcher
Curtis Tilt is congratulated after his winning goal against Blackpool by Ashley Fletcher
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And Tilt was one of a host of players and staff sad to see him leave, on the eve of Saturday's morale-boosting victory over Blackpool.

"It's been a bit of a surreal week to be fair," he acknowledged. "The gaffer brought in probably every single member of the staff and the squad into that dressing room.

"But football's a funny old game, these things happen and you've just got to come together as a group and use the disappointment we felt in seeing him sacked as energy on the field.

"We've been on a bad run of results, but we felt like we haven't been that far away in most of the games.

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"We tried to stick to what we know, Rob (Kelly) and Beatts (James Beattie) were in charge on Saturday, but they didn't really change anything.

"The only difference was this time we came out on the right side of the result."

Tilt proved to be Latics' matchwinner, popping up in the last minute to head home Tendayi Darikwa's cross.

Latics had made hard work of Blackpool, who took the lead despite being reduced to 10 men, before James McClean equalised from a corner at the start of the second period.

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"I thought we were all right for the first 10 minutes, but the sending-off seemed to help them a lot more than us," he assessed.

"We got through to half-time, and there were a few strong truths said between the lads in there, I'm not going to lie, knowing how much was riding on this game.

"Being 1-0 down against 10 men, we had to take the game to them more, take a bit more onus on ourselves to keep the ball better.

"I felt we played in the first half with pressure on us, and we had to take that pressure away if we wanted to do anything.

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"Second half we took the game to them from the off and managed to come out on top."

Latics now have a month's break to ready themselves for the next game - at Millwall on December 10 - as well as install a new manager.

"It's been a tough schedule so the plan is for us to rest up for a week or so," added Tilt.

"Who knows who the new manager will be or what he will put to us schedule wise.

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"The World Cup should give the club enough time to bring someone in, and it's up to us as players to buy into what the manager wants us to do.

"As a football club and for us as individuals, this break's probably come at a good time for to regroup.

"The club has time to get the right man to come in as the new manager, and the players can rest weary legs as well as the injured lads get time to heal."