Manager David Flitcroft gives his reaction to the 2-0 win over Charlton Athletic on the opening day of the season.
A delighted David Flitcroft spoke to Shakers Player HD following the 2-0 victory over Charlton Athletic on Saturday and praised his side following the victory but, more importantly, the clean sheet as he explained:
“The clean sheet is key, that’s eight weeks of preparations and planning. We got the performance that richly deserved the win. The lads executed the game plan but, more importantly, the work ethic was there and we out ran Charlton. I take nothing away from Charlton, they are a fantastic side. Russell Slade is a top manager and they have recruited really well in all areas of the pitch. We felt that they might have had a couple of weaknesses but he recruited two big hitters at the end of the week.
“To go through what we have done over the last eight weeks, the re-building and the re-modelling of the squad, you want to see elements of your work and that was evident on Saturday. I’m delighted with the win; I’m delighted with the players. The players that have come on the pitch and those that haven’t made it, they have all worked tirelessly to try and get into the team and the bench but they have all played a major part.”
The media and pundits across the country may see the result as something of a shock and a head turner, but not according to the manager who looked back at events of last season as proof.
“It’s not a shock, Wigan started slowly last season. Charlton are still building and are looking to get some rhythm into their work, but we are in rhythm, we’ve had a really good pre-season. We’ve won a lot of games that we have played behind closed doors and we have performed really well in elements of our work and pre-season has been really evident in our work and it was evident in our first showing on Saturday.
“The plan on Saturday was to deny them space. In any league you have to make sure that good players do not have the space. Players like Johnnie Jackson and Morgan Fox love having the time, they are very good operators at this level it was important that they didn’t feel they had that time to execute. Nicky Ajose is a ghost with his running off shoulders and playing off shoulders, so we didn’t allow them to hit Nicky.
“We set a game plan out. It doesn’t matter how much work you put into, if the players cannot execute that game plan and have a willingness to do it, then you have no chance. That group of players on Saturday, the willingness that they have shown to get all over and to get into the Charlton players was excellent.”
Several key players could only make the bench for Saturday’s opener, players such as Danny Mayor, Kelvin Etuhu, Zeli Ismail and Andrew Tutte. The gaffer explained why his bench looked as it did:
“We have been working on all aspects, the shape and the structure of the team and the players that haven’t played much game time over pre-season. We’ve tried to get them through their injury problems and to get them conditioned. Danny Mayor probably had half an hour in him; he’s trained maybe five or six times. He has been with Paul Morgan for most of pre-season. Zeli and Tutte have been in and out of training, they have had their own training programmes. It was a case of everyone, whether they were coming on the pitch or not, knows exactly what they were doing and they did that to the letter.”
Watch the full video interview with the Manager on Shakers Player HD. A taster of that interview, as seen on our YouTube Channel is shown below.