Wigan Athletic boss reacts to 7-1 thrashing of Leicester City - and a 'good lesson learned'

Shaun Maloney admitted the magnificent 7-1 EFL Trophy spanking of Leicester City Under-21s was 'a really good lesson' for Wigan Athletic.
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Having pledged to take the competition seriously, Maloney sent out a strong side that took a good half-hour to get into their stride.

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They even fell behind when Arjan Raikhy unleashed a missile that flew past Sam Tickle and into the top corner.

Josh Magennis celebrates the first of his hat-trick for Latics in the 7-1 thrashing of Leicester City Under-21sJosh Magennis celebrates the first of his hat-trick for Latics in the 7-1 thrashing of Leicester City Under-21s
Josh Magennis celebrates the first of his hat-trick for Latics in the 7-1 thrashing of Leicester City Under-21s
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However, Latics - who had earlier hit the bar through Scott Smith - levelled thanks to Josh Magennis' penalty, after Liam Shaw had been mugged in the Foxes box.

And three goals within 15 minutes of the restart - as Magennis completed his hat-trick and Callum Lang registered his first goal in a year - ended the contest.

There was still time for Harry McHugh and Josh Stones to come off the bench to score big goals - the former’s first at the DW, and the latter’s first in senior football – either side of fellow Academy graduate Chris Sze's fizzing strike.

Leaving the boss happy with the way the evening had turned out.

"It was just a really good lesson for us," he said.

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"Some of our younger players have had really good rises, from the Academy through the reserve team into the first team.

"And in the first half, there were definitely a few moments where they took their eye off the ball.

"Against any team - whether they're full of Under-21 players or 38-year-old veterans - when you do that, you will get hurt.

"You can never take your eye off the ball in any game, but I loved what I saw in the second half.

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"The younger players, and also the senior players...I was really pleased with what we produced.

"The mentality of the senior players was a very big reason why we won and in such a manner.

"And that will hopefully stand us in good stead for the rest of the season."

Loan duo Liam Shaw (Celtic) and James Balagizi (Liverpool) are both playing catch up fitness wise, but each staked a claim by bossing the middle of the park.

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"It's hard for me - but very good for the club - that it's becoming very difficult for me to pick squads, let alone a first team," added Maloney.

"Liam Shaw has worked extremely hard, as has James Balagizi, after coming here and not having much of a pre-season.

"Some of these players, they've obviously come here on loan from big clubs...but we're also here to win, and to achieve things.

"Scott Smith played in a position he'd not played for me before, but I got him in the team for what he could do on the ball.

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"I really liked what he did, and I also really liked what Harry McHugh did in the second half."

Maloney was also able to leave Stephen Humphrys and Charlie Wyke on the bench ahead of Saturday’s tough trip to Joey Barton’s Bristol Rovers in the league, with the likes of Sean Clare, Matt Smith, Thelo Aasgaard and Baba Adeeko being given the night off.