Uwe’s revolution

I had a slightly different article in mind before Wigan Athletic’s disappointing 3-0 defeat at Doncaster on Saturday, but one game doesn’t make a season, as Uwe Rosler continues his attempts at rescuing ours. From what we’ve seen since he was appointed, how we performed in the Doncaster game wasn’t typical of a Uwe team.

We seemed sluggish, poor defensively and devoid of any creativity. Yes we can make excuses – we still have three centre-backs out injured, we’ve played a lot of games already and Grant Holt wasn’t there to offer any encouragement from the bench (and to eat most of the biscuits) but excuses don’t put points on the board. Plus Doncaster were by far the better team and one of my bugbears is not seeing the winning team given any credit, so fair play to them.

Let’s put the defeat down as an inevitable slip – as fans, I think we shouldn’t have got over-confident at beating Bournemouth 3-0 last week and similarly we shouldn’t get too downhearted by a defeat at Doncaster – it’s just one game in a season of many. Prior to that, we had gone eight unbeaten and if we want to get in that top six, we must get back to stringing those results together as soon as possible and use this game as a lesson.

Prior to the weekend, things have looked great. Uwe came in and installed his straight-talking, no-nonsense pressing style of play and the players responded. We’re scoring goals now, something that Owen Coyle couldn’t get us to do, and we’re actually setting up with a game plan in mind. The recent win at Derby saw us change the way we play in order to ‘do something different’ and surprise the opposition.

The last time we saw a team surprised with a debilitate game plan was when Derby hit us with high-tempo and three goals in the first half at the DW a month beforehand. We’re no longer setting up and playing the same tactics week-in week-out, which was one part of Coyle’s downfall. The main question Wigan fans have been asking though is: What if Uwe was appointed in the summer, would we be in the same position? With the desire and professionalism shown from the players since his appointment (apart from Saturday!), I’d say not.

I genuinely believe the players, the majority of whom have come from the Premier League, have found it difficult to adapt to the Championship. There’s been many a moaning about a refereeing performance, as we’ve seen other sides getting away with challenges that would be worth a yellow in the Premier League, and it’s just got me thinking that perhaps the players we have

lack that Championship knowhow and struggle to control games. We were a team in the Premier league who had to absorb pressure and hit teams on the counter attack, in this division, we have to attack and take the game to the opposition. Maybe that’s the problem?

Maybe it’ll take a new squad a couple of years to adapt to that role? You’ve seen the qualities of Leicester, who have been knocking around the top six for the last few years, but are now leading the way. Cardiff, another team who spent a couple of years just missing out, finally got promotion last year. What we need is stability, under a competent regime, one that can get the team playing good football; and after barely 10 games, Uwe already looks like the man who can provide it.

We’ve already done some business in the transfer window, the biscuit stealer has gone to Aston Villa for the season and this release in wages has seen us bring in young defender, Ty Browning on loan from Everton and Nicky Maynard from Cardiff. Browning is a promising defender, but Maynard is the experienced Championship one. Hopefully he can be the fit Nicky Maynard that was scoring the odd goal at Bristol City, rather than the injured one at West Ham and Cardiff.

Speaking of the transfer window – I’ve been thinking back to the summer and to be fair to Owen Coyle, he brought in some decent players, Leon Barnett and Nick Powell have been superb. Then there’s the others. Even though I was happy at the time to sign such a revered Football League goalscorer like Grant Holt, I was mystified as to why he was offered a three-year contract. He’s 32, doesn’t have the best fitness record and presumably on a massive wage.

It’s not the Wigan way of doing things (not since Paul Jewell started the strategy of signing ‘up and coming’ players and getting rid of the expensive ‘has-beens’ that we collected during the early part of Dave Whelan’s reign at the club.) Maybe that’s another reason why Coyle left? Perhaps he persuaded the club to go for Holt and said that the deal was worth it?

Two goals, one deflected off his thigh, the other a penalty, suggest different. Whatever the reasons, the new manager has only been left with the option of pursuing loan deals, in order to keep the club’s profits intact, which makes a mockery of people’s arguments that ex-Premier League sides spend parachute payments like Holty does on greyhounds. Unlike his predecessor though, you get the feeling that Uwe relies on his own judgement (rather than on ‘contacts’), knows the Football League and what we need to progress, so it should be interesting to see where we are after the January window.

Reaching the playoffs is the target and up until the weekend, I was confident of doing that. I’m more cautious now, but we have 21 games left, so still plenty of points to play for.  I am confident though that Uwe is the man to lead the charge again next year. Unless he falls out with everyone and signs players that are less fit than me, on huge contracts.

Written by Daniel Gee, We Are Going Up’s Wigan Athletic blogger

Daniel tweets at @danieljgee

4 Comments

  • Pete Reece says:

    Good article, Dan. I really enjoyed reading it. Like you, I think that Uwe’s the man for us and I’m much more optimistic for the future now than I was a couple of months ago. However, it’s not quite true that “We’re scoring goals now, something that Owen Coyle couldn’t get us to do”. Uwe’s managed 10 in his first seven games, Coyle managed 12!

  • Daniel says:

    Hi mate, great article. I have just shared it with the guys at Vital Wigan. It’s a great fans board!

    http://www.wigan.vitalfootball.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=24383&posts=1

  • Daniel Gee says:

    Cheers lads

    I take your point Pete, but the figure for Owen Coyle you mentioned includes a 4-0 win against Barnsley on the opening day. In his last 7 games (excluding Europa League), we only scored 4. What I should have written is that ‘we’re more defensively solid under Uwe, as we’re conceding less’ (apart from Saturday of course!) It still remains to be seen if that statement is correct though. Hopefully with Ramis, Rogne and Caldwell coming back, it will be!

  • ste says:

    Under coyle we had a 4-0, a couple of 2-2 & 3-1. Scoring and conceeding wasnot a real problem under Coyle. Afterall prior to SSaturday we haf one of the best defences in the league. The problem of scoring under Coyle was away and only crept in towards the end. As did conceeding ie Derby.

    The thing that gets me is as clueless as Coyle was, he could have won us the Europa League but didn’t win us the Championship after the Barnsley game. Their was calls for his head after a 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth in the second game of the season. Yet we can lose 3-0 to Doncaster away after a eight game unbeaten run and people just brush it off. Yes Coyle was clueless but double standards there or what?

    As for Holt yes a 3 year deal was stupid for him but Coyle also only signed Carson, Fortune etc on one/two year deals so should show both sides to the story than just negatives. I will say again Coyle was clueless and deserved to go but some of the bashing he is getting is unfair for a few reasons.

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