Judge my decisions at the end of the week – Wigan Athletic boss

Nick Powell
Nick Powell

Paul Cook has asked any Wigan Athletic fans who queried his team selection and substitutions at Brentford to wait until the end of the week before passing judgement.

Eyebrows were raised before the game at Griffin Park when top scorer Will Grigg was left out in favour of James Vaughan.

Indeed, Grigg and the returning Michael Jacobs remained on the bench throughout, with boss Cook also taking off star man Nick Powell at the three-quarter mark.

The decisions led to one or two murmurings of discontent from Latics fans on social media, which Cook says he totally understands.

But with back-to-back home games coming up against Hull on Tuesday and Bristol City on Friday, he also called on fans to look at the bigger picture.

“There were key decisions made in terms of selection on Saturday that were always being made with Tuesday and Friday in mind,” the Latics boss revealed.

“And I’m excited at the calibre of players we have waiting to come in.

“We had a good bench at Brentford, but I just felt there was no point throwing on the likes of Grigg and Jacobs after the sending off (of Sam Morsy).

“This might be tough for some of our supporters to take, but I thought the game was gone at that point.

“I felt taking off Nick Powell very early, and saving him for the games coming up, was the right thing to do.

“If we can manage to pick up three points against Hull, all of a sudden the world becomes a much happier place!

“I know there would probably be some fans who’d have a problem with that, and I’m fine with that by the way.

“They’ve paid a lot of money to travel down to London to see the best Wigan Athletic side out on the field.

“Did I manage to give them that on Saturday? No.

“Am I hopeful that by the end of this week we’ll have made it up to them? Yes.

“I feel for the game as much as I do, and I hope they understand that.”

Cook was also quick to accentuate the positives of the situation, with Latics still in the top half of the Championship table.

“This is not a time to be getting down,” he insisted.

“There’s still teams in this league who haven’t won, teams who are only just picking up their first win.

“The most important thing is to make sure we’re focused on the next game, and doing our best to pick up the three points.

“I could write down so many things from Saturday that we didn’t do well.

“Coming in on the Sunday and Monday ahead of the game on Tuesday, it’s important we stay positive and focus on everything we have been doing well.

“This is such a difficult league, and you’re coming up against good sides every few days.

“It’s so repetitive, so tough, that you just don’t have time to over-analyse every defeat.

“While Brentford played well, it’s also important to acknowledge we didn’t play anywhere near our best.

“And the important thing is we get back to the levels we all know we’re capable of.”