01 March 2022

Leam Richardson full of praise for high-flying Wigan after Fleetwood defeat

01 March 2022

Leam Richardson heaped praise on his Wigan side for the 2-0 victory over Fleetwood that cemented their position in the Sky Bet League One automatic promotion spots.

Two goals in the space of five minutes just before half-time, from Will Keane (penalty) and James McClean, saw the Latics bounce back from the weekend defeat to Sunderland.

“It was a very professional response from Saturday and that’s what you’re after,” said Richardson.

“This group always reacts in a proper way to disappointment and they’ve done that again tonight.

“You never want to get a kick up the backside, in the form of a result like Saturday but to get back to winning ways, with a clean sheet, was commendable.

“It took a while to get going because Fleetwood came with a game-plan and you have to respect the way every team wants to play.

“It’s never going to be easy with 11 men behind the ball and you have to make sure you don’t leave yourselves vulnerable at the back.

“We had to work hard, wait and be patient and we did that.

“If we’re going to be critical, we probably could have scored more goals and made it an even more-comfortable night.

“We’ve got a lot of senior players in our group and the credit has to go to the players for the way they’re handling the pressure.”

The major downside was the stoppage-time sending-off of McClean, for an altercation with former Wigan forward Joe Garner, who also saw red at the death.

“I think it’s two senior players – and I’ve worked with them both – who each have that will to win and that fight in them,” assessed the Wigan boss.

“It looked like a bit of a clash, a bit of handbags, but if the referee’s seen something, they should know better.

“Without seeing it, though, I can’t really comment too much.”

Opposite number Stephen Crainey was also not saying much on the subject.

“I didn’t see the incident so I can’t comment,” he said. “But it is what it is and we have to get on with it.

“If I look at it and I feel Joe hasn’t acted with any malice, we’ll certainly consider an appeal but that’s for another day when we have a good look at it.”

The Fleetwood boss felt his side paid a high price for failing to make the most of a very promising opening half-hour.

“I thought we were really untroubled for the first half an hour and we had some good opportunities in the final third,” he said.

“If one of those had gone in, it’s a different game, but the 10-minute spell just before half-time cost us the game.

“Apart from that, I didn’t think there was much in the game and that’s the really frustrating aspect for us.

“Credit to Wigan, they’re a good side who are up there on merit.

“They’ve got good experience in the squad and I think they’ll be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

“We’re just lacking a cutting edge in the final third but, if we keep working as hard as we are, hopefully that will come.

“The thing about League One is, you can’t dwell on any result, because there’s always another game just around the corner.

“Hopefully we’ll do enough to stay in the league and I’m sure we will do.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox