Paul Cook’s Wigan have won four of their last five away matches
Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook said his team have their “belief back” after victory over West Bromwich Albion moved them out of the relegation zone and helped reduce the Baggies’ lead at the top of the Championship.
Sam Morsy drilled home from 12 yards to end West Brom’s six-game unbeaten run and earn the in-form Latics a third successive victory.
The result lifted Wigan out of the bottom three for the first time in three months, while Leeds United’s comfortable win over Hull City sees them breathing down West Brom’s necks in the race for the title.
Cook’s side had taken just four points from their opening 13 away games this season, but have now recorded a fourth victory in five on their travels – a run that has seen them win at both Leeds and, now, the Baggies.
“We’ve had so much criticism the lads have shown great character, you know today we’ve had to play very well,” said Cook.
“We haven’t done anything differently. The Wigan fans might be thinking we’re drinking different water. Everyone wants to know if there’s a magic formula – in football there’s not.
“It’s repetition in what you’re doing and belief in what you’re doing as well. When you win a game, when you keep a clean sheet, when you score a goal you can see that (belief) in abundance.
“We’ve got to make sure that we don’t drop back into the bottom three. Football can be very cruel.
“Football’s about supporting your players, supporting your manager. Now the flavour of the month is to criticise the players and manager. I’m not levelling that at Wigan that’s about the culture of football.
“You’ve got to give people time, unfortunately in football today you don’t get time.”
Midfielder Sam Morsy’s winner was his second goal in five games for Wigan
Wigan could have been in front much earlier but Gavin Massey’s diving header hit the post, while Albion keeper Sam Johnstone denied Morsy, Joe Williams and Gary Roberts.
Filip Krovinovic twice went close for an otherwise below-par Baggies, who are now just one point clear of Leeds.
Albion never looked like threatening an equaliser once Egypt midfielder Morsy lashed home from a corner. Indeed, Wigan should have doubled their margin of victory in stoppage time but a clean-through Jamal Lowe was denied by Johnstone one-on-one.
The Baggies keeper was much busier than his counterpart, although Latics stopper David Marshall had produced important first-half saves to foil Matheus Pereira and Callum Robinson.
Krovinovic saw a volley cleared off the line by Cedric Kipre and later curled just wide from 20 yards as the Baggies’ cushion to third-placed Fulham was reduced to six points.
West Brom head coach Slaven Bilic told BBC WM 95.6:
“We were second best to the second balls and the biggest problem was we didn’t manage the ball well.
“Maybe a draw would be the fair result but we can’t say we were unlucky. We just simply were not good enough.
“The dressing room is very flat and silent. But I told them there was no time to be down, to start doubting yourself. Tomorrow I want to see happy faces on the training ground, and for them to learn from these mistakes. We can’t be like that in the coming weeks.”
- Match Stats
- Live Text
- 26HegaziSubstituted forBartleyat 43'minutes
- 14TownsendBooked at 86mins
- 16HarperSubstituted forPhillipsat 55'minutes
- 12Costa PereiraBooked at 90mins
- 47RobinsonSubstituted forGrosickiat 61'minutes
- 37BalogunSubstituted forNaismithat 69'minutes
- 20WilliamsBooked at 90mins
- 18RobertsSubstituted forEvansat 80'minutes
- 11MasseySubstituted forJacobsat 58'minutes
Home TeamWest BromAway TeamWiganPossessionHome48%Away52%ShotsHome9Away13Shots on TargetHome3Away5CornersHome6Away7FoulsHome10Away6
Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 0, Wigan Athletic 1.