Wigan Athletic fans forum: Paul Cook on the away record
If Paul Cook was wondering when the subject of Wigan Athletic’s away record would crop up, he didn’t have to wait long.
Barely a minute of this week's fans forum at the DW Stadium had elapsed when the issue was addressed from floor.
And the Latics boss addressed the subject with typical honesty.
“It’s a very, very valid question,” he said.
“I think one of the biggest things we’re finding – this season especially – is we’ve tried to change formations a few times, in relation to three at the back and three in midfield.
“But we’ve generally found, no matter what the formation is, that the result is the same - whether we like it or not.
“We know it’s not good enough, but you’ve also got to look at a team like Barnsley.
“Barnsley last year in League One didn’t lose a single league game at home - not one.
“When we came up from League One, we only lost four games away from home out of 23. Sometimes when you step up a level, it can be brutal.
“Then you look at the defeats we’ve had within that time...the late goals, and so on.
“The criticism I’ve given the players, I would also give myself. But you’ve also got to look at our home form over the same period, which has been so good.
“The Cardiff game, I think everyone would have enjoyed that one. The Leeds game, obviously we had Joe (Williams) sent off after 20 minutes.
“Other than that, we haven’t conceded a goal...with the exact same players who can’t win away.
“You’ve got to remember now that managers now just carry the can.
“Whatever you do, there’s folk who say: ‘You haven’t got a clue, the formation’s wrong’.
“That can be quite tough! But we’ve managed to lose game we never should have.
“Fulham were excellent against us at their place, I’ve no problem with that.
“But we lost at Sheffield Wednesday and we never should have. People will then question the manager’s tactics!
“Our tactics away from home have been very aggressive, we’ve tried to get at teams, to do the things we do so well at home.
"But for whatever reason, it’s not happening for us away from home.
“Now if you’re a fan travelling away, you might want us to change stuff, change the formation.
“But if you look at the Middlesbrough game, we missed two or three glaring chances at the beginning of the game.
“Middlesbrough then score with their first chance of the game, and you’re thinking...I won’t swear.
“I will never turn on my players, I’m not a manager who will ever do that.
"But for some reason, the same group of lads find it tough to win away from home – yet our home form is the total opposite.
“I have to admit, I find that tough. I find that tough to watch.
"I watch us beat Birmingham at home on the Tuesday, and then went to Birmingham on the Friday to watch them wipe the floor with Middlesbrough.
“People ask me about preparation...our preparation is all about attention to detail.
“For some reason, we’re not able to translate our home form to the away games.
“Sometimes, when we make mistakes in away games, we’ve just not had that mental strength to get over the line.
“We have to find a way of sorting that out, and we’re working as hard as we possibly can to do that. But yeah, it’s the biggest conundrum I’ve had to face as a manager – by a mile.”