Wigan Athletic boss: I don’t buy into ‘positives’

Lee Evans and Reece James congratulate goalscorer Callum Connolly
Lee Evans and Reece James congratulate goalscorer Callum Connolly

Paul Cook admitted the only thing that displeased him about Wigan Athletic’s 3-2 defeat at Aston Villa was the result itself.

Latics went toe-to-toe with arguably the biggest team in the Championship and matched them throughout, fighting back from a goal down to lead through Nick Powell and Callum Connolly before being pegged back on the hour mark.

However, Birkir Bjarnason popped up right at the death to score the winning goal for Villa - which Cook felt was rough on his troops.

“All of the aspects of the game we’re happy with...apart from the result,” said the Latics boss.

“I wanted us to acquit ourselves well, and I think the players did that.

“There were key moments of the game that went against us, there always is...Josh Windass’ header that went just over was a massive chance near the end of the game.

“But we all know Aston Villa have quality players, you all know it yourselves, and they’re always liable to pop up there and win it at the end.

“We’re all genuinely disappointed, because I think a draw would have been a fair result on the day.”

Given Latics are taking on the big boys with one of the smallest budgets in the division, the disappointment was tempered at the final whistle with a standing ovation for the visiting players.

Not that Cook left Villa Park feeling particularly buoyant.

“I’m not really a manager who buys into all that stuff about ‘positives’, especially when you’ve been beaten in the 93rd or 94th minute,” he added.

“We’ll let the dust settle, and the disappointment will drive us on in the future.

“I thought my players were absolutely excellent on the day, and we move on to the next one.

“What I will say is that when you see your fans standing and clapping at the end, even after a defeat, means a lot to a manager.

“When you’ve travelled a long way, and you din’t win the game, for them to clap us off says a lot.

“We can’t do any more, we’re obviously disappointed to have lost, but we’ll hopefully come back better next week.”