Owen Coyle was quick to praise the efforts of each and every one of the 2,500 travelling Wigan Athletic fans who provided the perfect backdrop to a historic night for the club in Bruge.
The long journey and dreadful weather conditions did little to dampen the spirits of the Latics fans who filled the Jan Breydel Stadion with their noise throughout the night, and after the game Coyle thanked them for their efforts saying:
“It was always going to be a tough night for us but everyone associated with Wigan Athletic Football Club did the club proud, and none more so than the supporters – they were magnificent.
“It’s not been easy for them to get out here financially and logistically, but they were determined to help their club and be a part of something special, and they certainly made the occasion one to remember.
“I believe many had to walk around three or four kilometres to the ground but you wouldn’t have noticed from the noise they made I was overwhelmed by their support.
“I’m so happy that they were able to leave the ground with a smile on their faces after seeing a brilliant performance from the players on the pitch, they are a real credit to our club.”
Coyle made seven changes to his starting line up at the start of the evening, and he was very impressed with what he saw from them throughout the 90 minutes, explaining:
“There were a number of players coming into the team with certain stories around them, whether that be a debut for the club, returning from time out injured, or coming in to prove a point, but I thought each one of them gave their all and stuck together throughout the game.
“As expected, Zulte were a real threat going forwards, and massive credit goes to the players for working their socks off to keep a clean sheet.
“But at the other end I thought we caused them real problems, and on another night would have found a way onto the scoresheet, so there were a number of pleasing aspects to come from the game.
“We’re going to need that togetherness throughout the season, it’s not going to be easy but if we show the same attitude in the future then we’ll get to where we need to be.
“Now we dust ourselves down and prepare for Ipswich Town on Sunday, which is sure to be another tough game.
“Again, we’ll look to freshen up the team and bring in players to the team who missed out tonight and look forward to welcoming all those fans back to our home for another big game.”