Latics manager Uwe Rosler firmly believes that last season’s 62-game campaign, that included European adventures, a run to the Play-Offs of the Sky Bet Championship semi-finals and a penalty shootout defeat to eventual FA Cup with Budweiser winners Arsenal, will make his side a more prominent force in the race for promotion to the Premier League in 2014-15.
Rosler says that the odds were always stacked against Latics for an immediate return to the top-flight with the UEFA Europa League fixtures taking their toll in the early season and the fact that the Championship has become a stronger division than perhaps it’s given credit for.
“It’s always a massive task, I think you see that historically the teams that get relegated sometimes adapting to life in the Championship can take some time, especially if you have difficulties to adapt, exactly that happened here.” Rosler explained.
“Not only the European game programme, it’s also a completely different type of football from when you’ve been in the Premier League - in the most exciting and most competitive league in the world - with the biggest attention worldwide.
“I think at times the players have to realise very quickly that there is a completely different type of football that you have to cope with a travel schedule and a game programme that the players have never experienced before.
“Now, after one year, knowing what is demanded, what we can face and what is needed to succeed I think it’s definitely easier in the second year to be at the races from the beginning.”
Rosler also added that he will consider new additions in the coming weeks, though he is happy with the current players he has under contract at the DW Stadium.
“I think the nucleus of the team is stable but we’re also looking for fresh blood; we’re looking for younger players,” he said.
“I’m very much looking forward to the start of the season; there will be new faces but not too many.
“I think it’s always good to find a new momentum and to find players to put the established players in the first XI under pressure.”
Three Latics players are away at the World Cup whilst multiple others face international fixtures before a brief rest period precedes the start of pre-season.
And Rosler says he is looking forward to a full pre-season with the player so preparation can be at a premium and he can stamp his style of the side.
“The players will come back in good shape; I think the players know they will have a pre-season where they have to go to their limit to prepare themselves for a very, very long and demanding Championship season,” Rosler continued.
“In the summer, I’m a big believer that you set the foundations, not only for the physical side but also on the footballing side by putting principals into place when we have time to work on things.
“It’s more important to bring the players physically, technically and tactically in shape and I think that will set us up for a good season.”