Wigan Athletic boss hails 'special group' for going 'above and beyond' in adversity

Shaun Maloney praised his Wigan Athletic players for dealing with a 'tough...hard' week during which they've once again gone 'above and beyond'.
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Latics ended a car-crash campaign - on and off the pitch - with a goalless draw with a Rotherham side who finished below them in League One last term, but who had already secured their Championship status.

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REPORT: Wigan Athletic v Rotherham United.

Several regular first-teamers were missing from the line-up, after the players failed to receive their wages on time for a FIFTH time this season on Friday.

Shaun Maloney hailed his players after the season-ending draw against RotherhamShaun Maloney hailed his players after the season-ending draw against Rotherham
Shaun Maloney hailed his players after the season-ending draw against Rotherham
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One of those unpaid players, James McClean, skippered the side in what could turn out to be his last game for the club.

And Maloney placed on record his public gratitude for the way his players have continued to conduct themselves.

"It's been hard, very hard," he said. "I think we all expected and hoped that these kinds of days were behind us.

"But yes, it was very difficult again for everyone to deal with.

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"There's just been a lack of clarity, which makes it difficult for me to manage the team and manage the players individually.

"And I have to say a massive thanks again to the squad, five of whom played despite not having been paid.

"That's not to discount any of the other players who did exactly the same earlier this season when this happened before.

"It's just a really special group really, given what they've been through.

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"They've gone above and beyond this year for the club, and people shouldn't forget that.

Maloney gave young goalkeeper Sam Tickle his league debut, and the Academy product responded with a man-of-the-match performance.

Latics also threatened through Christ Tiehi, Callum Lang and Thelo Aasgaard, but the game was low in genuine moments of excitement and goalmouth activity.

"I actually really liked the second half," added Maloney, who sent on youngsters Chris Sze, Abdi Sharif, Youssef Chentouf and Scott Smith in the final quarter.

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"We had to change things slightly at half-time, and I really liked the mentality we had.

"The first half was a little bit tentative.

"In fairness some of the players hadn't played for a while - or at least alongside each other for a while.

"I just told them I needed a bit more aggression and belief in that second half, at the end of what has been a very, very difficult few days.

"And there were a number of positives to come out of it, especially the performance of a number of young players."