Roberto Martinez admitted that Latics weren’t at their best against West Bromwich Albion and found it difficult to turn around a two-goal deficit.
Arouna Kone found a response to James Morrison’s opener and Gary Caldwell’s own-goal, but despite going close to an equaliser in the second-half the visitors held on to take all three points, and Martinez said it’s a lesson his players must learn from.
“We always aim to perform as well as we can in every game, but I don’t feel we reached that level against West Brom,” he said.
“Things just didn’t seem to go our way and to give a two-goal lead to any opposition in the Premier League will always make the game very difficult.
“West Brom are a side full of confidence, with great belief and find themselves in a great league position as a result.
“We started really well, looked bright and created some half-chances, but in those moments you need to be able to keep a clean-sheet at the same time to stay on top and we couldn’t do that.
“For the first goal we had too many bodies inside the area and the second goal came after we’d set ourselves up well from a throw-in situation, but the response was good and we got ourselves a goal at an important time.
“After the break we were able to continue our attacking intent even though our movement wasn’t there so much.
“Perhaps we became a little too frustrated in trying to overcome the two-goal deficit, wanting the equaliser so desperately that it affected our performance which is something we need to learn from because we’ll have to face it again this season.”
Disappointed at the manner in which his team fell behind on the half-hour-mark, Martinez did pull positives from the encounter, including a fourth goal of the season for Arouna Kone, saying:
“The first goal was always going to be a massive point in the game. If we had of scored it then West Brom would need to open up and start gambling themselves, but the fact they never had to do that played in their favour and we all know how well they are organised as a defensive unit.
“At the other end it was good to see Arouna score once more and to be honest we had more opportunities that with the quality we have should have resulted in more goals.
“It was one positive to take from the game and there were other good things for us to reflect on, but we need to start developing an understanding of what to do when these kind of situations present themselves.”
Latics travel to Anfield next weekend to face Liverpool, but not before another round of international fixtures which the Gaffer reckons might not be as disruptive as usual, explaining:
“We have many players heading off to join there national teams, so we’ll regroup on Thursday and get ourselves for another exciting match against Liverpool at Anfield.
“The positive is that there is not too much travelling for the players to endure; there are no 12-plus hour flights, the games are fairly close and so the demands on the players physically and mentally is very different.”
Finally, Ali Al Habsi’s pre-match warm-up was cut short with a worrying injury and Martinez says the Omani international will be given close inspection in the build-up to next weekend’s match.
He said: “He picked up a little knock in his shoulder and we were concerned before the game but he was able to play and now we can assess his situation to make sure he can be 100% for next weekend.
“Apart from that everyone else came through the game without cause for concern.”