Wigan Athletic boss reacts to Stoke City defeat
Leam Richardson admits his Wigan Athletic players 'clearly need help at the moment' after Stoke City handed them a seventh defeat in eight games.
Latics have now dropped into the Championship drop-zone after Josh Tymon struck the only goal just after the hour mark at the DW.
Top scorer Will Keane had earlier headed over for Latics, who again couldn't find the necessary spark in the final third.
"There wasn't much in the game all night," assessed Richardson.
"It was too-ing and fro-ing all game, a couple of teams that were trying their best to win the game and trying their best not to lose it.
"Then there was just one moment where we lost our shape, and obviously they took their chance.
"Look, we expected it would be tough at this level, we expected this squad of players we brought up to be up for the healthy challenge.
"It's not my job to only be here for the good times, and be high-fiving everybody all the time.
"It's my job to be here when the lads need help, and they clearly need help at the moment.
"It's my job to lead properly and be there for the lads who need it most.
"I think in the main the performances have been good.
"We're 18 games in, and probably 14 if not 15 have been competitive.
"There's been three we've possibly let ourselves down in, but tonight wasn't one of them.
"I didn't think there was anything in the game, it probably deserved to be a draw.
"But one lapse in our shape, one time we're lop-sided, they get in and manage to score.
"We had a couple of chances prior to that, and we have to score."
Latics almost equalised in added time, with Tom Naylor bundling home after a melee following a corner.
But the flag was up on the near side, and the goal was disallowed.
"I would suggest he's put up his flag offside, but I haven't seen it again," added Richardson.
"I don't think the linesman would be able to see a handball from his position out there.
"He's either given a foul or offside, or possibly even both."
Tymon had fired just wide with barely a minute gone.
At the other end, Max Power’s shot from distance touched the outside of the post on its way behind, with James McClean seeing a cross-shot fly inches past the far post.
The Irishman then sent over a corner that was headed over by Jack Whatmough, before Latics came agonisingly close to the opening goal.
Skipper Tendayi Darikwa 's lovely cross looked perfect for the onrushing Keane, but he couldn't keep his header down.
After Jordan Cousins fired just over the top, Jamie Jones was in the right place at the right time to make a super stop with his legs after a goalmouth scramble.
The respite was only temporary, however, as Stoke broke the deadlock on 62 minutes.
Tymon drove through the left channel and smashed the ball under an exposed Jones.
Latics sent on Josh Magennis, Charlie Wyke and Thelo Aasgaard for Nathan Broadhead, Darikwa and Cousins, with Keane dropping into the No.10 role.
And they almost equalised in added time through Naylor, but the flag was up for an apparent handball and possible offside.