James McClean says Latics will come back “better and stronger” for the 2014-15 Sky Bet Championship campaign after narrowly missing out on an immediate return to the Premier League.
The Republic of Ireland international made 48 appearances over the course of the season, enjoying a growing reputation at the DW Stadium for his hard-working performances throughout a tiring campaign.
“It was devastating not to see the game out against QPR and get to Wembley,” McClean said. “Obviously the aim was to get promotion but it’s been a difficult season with 62 games, which is a lot more games than the other teams have played.
“It wasn’t to be but we’ve got the experience now and we know what is needed from us next year, we’ll come back better and stronger to achieve the promotion next season.”
McClean has set the aim of starting more games in the new campaign, admitting he’d like to play more as Uwe Rosler shuffled his heavy number of squad members.
The 25-year-old was quick to add that despite the size of the team, it’s been as enjoyable a group as he’s been involved in during his career, with a fine balance of hard work and entertainment.
“For me, I feel the more games the better really,” he added. “I’ve been quite lucky in the sense that I’ve always kept myself quite fit and I think the rotation system was the thing that I needed to get used to most this season.
“I’ve never experienced that sort of thing before where you play one game and then you’re rested days later, regardless of how you’ve done in the previous game.
“We’ve got a big squad here, though, a very talented squad and you do understand it but that was the thing that I needed to adjust to most.
“It’s been great, though, there are a lot of great people here and it’s probably one of the best dressing rooms I’ve ever been in because everyone gets on with each other and there are no egos.
“Everyone comes in and works hard but at the same time there’s good banter as well and it’s a really good place to be.”
And McClean finished by saying he’s satisfied with his first year at the DW Stadium, though he’s keen to improve both personally and as a team next season.
“It was nice to score my first goal, the FA Cup run as well was fantastic – it’s a competition that has been very kind to Wigan in recent seasons,” McClean continued. “Overall it’s been a relatively satisfying season; I think the first time playing in Europe for me as well was fantastic.
“Next year, personally and as a team we want to do better.”