Five things we learned from Brentford (h)
Paul Kendrick reflects on five talking points from Wigan Athletic's 3-0 defeat to Brentford at the DW Stadium...
1. As bad as it gets. For the second Saturday in succession, Latics fell to defeat on home soil against a promotion-chasing side. But unlike last weekend against Swansea, when Latics were undoubtedly the better side and deserved to win the game, this time the performance was dreadful and the result thoroughly warranted. Nothing remotely positive to cling on to...an afternoon as utterly miserable as the weather.
2. Disastrous defending set the tone. Chey Dunkley's remarkable goalscoring exploits this season have been put down to hours of hard work at Euxton with first-team coach Anthony Barry, on the art of attacking set-pieces. Given the manner of Brentford's opening goal on Saturday, the players look like they need similar coaching on how to defend set-pieces. The amount of time and space afforded to Christian Norgaard - who was able to drift in totally unmarked and unchallenged - defied belief, and sadly set the tone for what followed.
3. Goals urgently required as well. It's not just at the back where Latics need to raise their game, with Middlesbrough's 2-2 draw at QPR meaning Latics are now the joint-lowest scorers in the Championship. However positive the performances have been of late, 13 goals in 16 games is just not good enough at any level. Apart from Chey Dunkley, no-one in the squad has more than one goal to their name which, three-and-a-half months into the season, is a damning statistic.
4. Brentford are a top side. That won't come as a surprise to Paul Cook, who bigged up Thomas Frank's men during his pre-match press conference. But it won't have brought any satisfaction to the Latics boss to be proved right in such a sobering fashion. Yes, Latics were awful, but they also came up against one of the best teams in the Championship on top of their game.
5. A fortnight to stew on this. With the international break now upon us, the players have a fortnight to get this performance out of their system. No doubt they would have preferred a game as quickly as possible to put things right, but instead Cook will get the group together at Euxton and formulate a response. As bad as Saturday was, performances in general this season have been reasonably good - albeit with lapses at both ends of the field. It's important that one very bad day at the office isn't blown out of all proportion, and confidence doesn't take too much of a hit.