'My lowest point as a manager', reveals Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook

Paul Cook spent 10 minutes after Wigan Athletic's 3-2 defeat at Reading locked in talks with referee Andy Davies - to try to comprehend a loss he says left him feeling 'as low as I've ever felt as a manager'.

Saturday, 9th March 2019, 10:02 pm
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 3:48 pm
Paul Cook

Latics led twice in a real relegation six-pointer at the Madejski Stadium, through Nick Powell (20) and Joe Garner (64), as the game entered the last minute.

But Reading - who'd earlier equalised on the stroke of half-time through John Swift - levelled for a second time thanks to a 30-yard rocket from Mo Barrow.

And there was to be one final - heartbreaking - sting in the tale, as Yakou Meite nodded home from a 97th-minute corner to steal all three points.

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Cook's fury was directed at the incident leading up to Barrow's wonder goal, when Reece James had required treatment after taking a bang to the head.

With the on-loan Chelsea youngster on the sidelines waiting to come back on, Latics skipper Sam Morsy took delivery of a drop ball in the centre-circle and tried to return it to the goalkeeper of Reading, who had sportingly sent the ball out of play.

But before he could do so, he had the ball whisked off his toes by an opponent, and seconds later the ball was in the back of the Wigan net.

All of which left a sour taste in the mouth of Cook and his players, who had arguably deserved to win the game given their overall performance.

"Going into the 90th minute, we look all-but home, we've only got to see the game out, and we get to travel back with a great result," assessed Cook.

"Unfortunately, we haven't managed to do that, for whatever reason that is.

"And I'm certainly not going to come in here and criticise referees, I've never been one for that after a game.

"Referees have a tough enough job...albeit were they tough decisions? I'm not so sure they were."

When asked to elaborate, Cook revealed his full gripe.

"Reece James has gone down, I think that's quite clear for everyone to see," he said.

"The natural thing to do is the referee drops the ball, and we return it to their goalkeeper, out of respect.

"Sammy Morsy is out of position, Reece James is off the pitch, we've got lads in the centre of the field and it's never gone back to their goalie.

"We've one central midfielder off the field, and the other one put of position...and they score from a position where we'd been strong all afternoon.

"It's a smashing finish from their lad, but is it correct what's happened?

"We don't feel so, and I spent 10 minutes in with the referee at the end.

"I had my say, he had his say, and I remain a strong advocate for supporting referees.

"Having said that, this has left me as low as I've ever felt as a manager.

"If the referee wasn't happy with what went on, he should blow up, drop it again, and give them the ball back.

"Let's play the game the right way...that never happened today."

The result sees Reading climb above Latics on goal difference, with only a three-point buffer to third-bottom Rotherham.

"With a minute left we were six points above Reading and looking in a really strong position to stay up," Cook added.

"The Wigan fans are going home happy, and everything's good in the world.

"We played well today, and I thought we were full value for something for sure.

"We never sat off Reading, we got at them, and I think even Reading fans will understand why we feel hard done by."