Roberto Martinez pointed to a slow start made by his team and lapses in concentration, as major factors in Latics’ 2-1 defeat to against Fulham at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Former Wigan Athletic striker Hugo Rodallega opened the scoring in the first-half, before Damien Duff scored what was to be the winning goal on the hour-mark, with Arouna Kone firing a consolation strike in stoppage time.
Despite a late surge forward following the Ivorian’s first home goal of the season, the damage was done and Latics couldn’t find a way back into the game, with Martinez telling Latics Player afterwards:
“We didn’t start well enough; on the ball we were slow, a bit pedestrian and couldn’t find that forward pass that always seemed to be there.
“From there onwards we made things complicated for ourselves, conceding a first-half goal at a crucial time.
“However, the response from the players was good, taking control of the game and showing real momentum either side of half time which was reflected in the post-match stats.
“But again, we conceded a goal at another important point which wasn’t good enough. If we want to get positive results we need more concentration and intensity in defence when we’re on top of the game – we can’t afford to be hurt so much on a counter-attack.
“We created very good opportunities throughout the game that we just couldn’t take until it was too late in the day, and for some reason Fulham continue to be an opposition we can’t take a positive result from.”
The late introduction of Ryo Miyaichi and Callum McManaman sparked new life into Latics’ attack which was without Franco Di Santo, with McManaman winning the corner which led to his team’s goal and Miyaichi a threat on the left wing.
Ben Watson was also handed his first league start of the season in place of James McArthur who dropped to the bench.
Martinez spoke of the changes and impact made by his youthful substitutes:
“Ryo and Callum came off the bench and had a contagious effect on the team, showing a positive momentum and helping to get a late goal.
“It was disappointing not to have Franco available for the game. We thought he could shrug off a calf injury picked up after that tackle from Danny Welbeck last weekend at Old Trafford, but he picked up another slight knock in training which ruled him out.
“James is still recovering from his back injury and slowly he’s getting back to his full physical fitness by working very hard. We’ve got a big squad and all the players need opportunities to play and opportunities to rest also.”