Wigan Athletic boss admits Exeter defeat was 'tough to take' due to a 'lack of intensity'
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Latics had gone into the game at the DW aiming to complete a hat-trick of wins over the Grecians this term, after away wins in the league and FA Cup during the first half of the campaign.
But they failed to take advantage of a flying start, with Thelo Aasgaard twice being denied by Exeter goalkeeper Viljami Sinisalo and Martial Godo sending a free header wide of the mark.
A heavily deflected effort from Mo Eisa had Exeter in front at the break, with Jack Aitchison seeing another shot take a huge diversion on its way past Sam Tickle at the three-quarter mark.
On-loan QPR forward Charlie Kelman - one of three half-time substitutions - pulled one back with 19 minutes to go, after Stephen Humphrys had been denied by Sinisalo, but Latics were unable to force a late leveller despite plenty of possession in good areas.
"I imagine I'm feeling very similar to how Exeter would have been feeling on definitely one of the occasions we won down there," assessed the Latics boss.
"It was a really tough result to take, because the second half in particular was everything I want to see from my team moving forward.
"We needed more intensity in that second half, I thought we lacked intensity without the ball in that first half.
"We started the game well, Thelo had a couple of good chances and Martial another with his header.
"But 1-0 down, I didn't like the feeling in the group, and I needed to see more intensity.
"I was really happy with the players who came on, although I must say the players they replaced have all been really good for me as well.
"It just felt like I needed to make a momentum change, which happened in the second half, but unfortunately we lost a second goal on the break.
"In the end it was just too big a challenge for us to pull it back at the end."