Cook lauds Wigan Athletic heroes after Hammers heroics

Goalscorer Will Grigg takes the congratulations of his colleagues
Goalscorer Will Grigg takes the congratulations of his colleagues

Paul Cook toasted his Wigan Athletic heroes after West Ham became the second Premier League team to be dumped out of this season’s FA Cup at the DW Stadium.

The League One leaders were good value for their 2-0 victory over the Hammers, with Will Grigg scoring in each half to take him to half a dozen cup goals for the season - the top scorer in the competition.

West Ham’s misery was compounded by the second-half sending-off of Arthur Masuaku for spitting at Nick Powell.

But nothing could detract from the achievements of Latics - and their jubilant manager.

“It’s been a great day for us as a club,” Cook acknowledged.

“When you take on top-class opposition, with the atmosphere before the game, it makes it special.

“We played well, and great credit to us for that.

“I thought the game had a massive defining moment.

“The sending-off was huge - in my opinion it altered course of the game.

“I felt they started the second half a lot better - bringing on players with top-class quality.

“There are defining moments in a game, and it obviously had a positive effect on us.”

Just as they did against Bournemouth, Latics took the game to their top-flight opponents and, if anything, the scoreline flattered the visitors.

“I don’t enjoy seeing people sit off and park the bus, and we never did it,” enthused Cook.

“If we get Manchester City or Liverpool away it might be different!

“But you want to see your team have a go.

“My convictions as a manager will always be the same - they always will.

“I like people to be brave on the ball, being positive players and a positive team.

“The last couple of games have been great for us, and our lads deserve a lot of credit.”

Cook signalled his intent right from the off by making only one change from his ‘league line-up’, with birthday boy Callum Elder taking over at left-back from Reece James.

It was in stark contrast to the seven changes he’d made against Bournemouth in the third-round replay, but Cook says the strength of the group is underpinning their assault on two competitions.

“We made changes against Bournemouth, but the harmony of our group is top class,” recognised the Latics boss.

“You guys will see too many bad attitudes, and that can seep through a football club.

“We would never allow bad attitudes here.

“Our lads as a group do great, they work so hard, and we got what we deserved.”

And Cook is in no doubts as to who he’d like in the fifth-round draw.

“There’s only one draw for us,” added the Liverpudlian. “We need a hot ball, and a cold ball. Liverpool at Anfield, we’ll settle for that.”