You’ve got to love Barnsley Mick haven’t you? I suspect that some of our fans would probably love a man like Mick McCarthy running our club, even though he is also a foreigner (from Yorkshire). He did a proper job on us on Monday night and I think we have to take our hats off to him.
Sure, his Ipswich team seemed intent on clobbering McManaman out of the game (and succeeded!) plus their tackling, foul play was a tad robust throughout whilst their gamesmanship and time wasting reached epic proportions in the second half. Yet I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t plenty to admire about their performance.
They could and should have scored a panful and there was nothing complicated about their approach whatsoever. They are simply a big team, capable of attacking at pace, extremely organised at the back and in midfield and the most important factor of all: they are all playing for one another.
Now I know a lot of them are big chaps but it seemed like there were fifteen of them on the pitch at times due to their workmanlike nature. Bodies on the line, fighting for a common cause and deservedly getting their reward in the form of three points.
Are we seeing that type of behaviour from the Wigan Athletic team at the moment? Absolutely not. Yet I really don’t know where it’s gone. Last week I was bemoaning the lack of flair following the departure of Gomez and Jean and to a lesser extent James McArthur; but McArthur was also the industrious heartbeat of the team and not only has he departed but nobody else seems to be picking up the mantle.
I can cope with a team who is suspect defensively if they are capable of brilliant moments of attacking flair and goals galore. I can cope with a team that grinds out unsightly 1-0 wins every week, as let’s face it we need points right now. Yet as it stands, we seem to have neither and there seemed to be only one team on Monday night who gave a masterclass in the much fabled German pressing game and quick counter attacking, and it wasn’t us.
The way we ended gave some hope and the introduction of Forshaw was pleasing as we are seeing more glimpses of what he can do. However, for all the talk of team spirit and cohesion trotted out by official sources, on the pitch – where it matters – we appear to be all at sea.
Hopefully Uwe will spend this week looking at what went so right when he first took over last December and start again from there, as what we’re seeing at the moment does not strike me as progress unfortunately.
First published in the Wigan Evening Post 12th Man column Friday 26th September 2014
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