Martin’s Musings from Wigan: ‘I thought we were terrific’

You simply cannot argue with four wins in six games. Martin O’Neill reflects on what was for him the best of the all …

Dear Colin,

I thought that was our best win since I’ve been here.

I know the Manchester City game was extraordinary but I’ve just told the players in the dressing room that tonight’s game has been our best.

We had a day less than Wigan to prepare for the game and we were out on our feet after playing City.

It felt as though we had to play three games to get that result and here we are with so much energy and courage once again.

Of course we had to weather the storm – both literally and metaphorically – at one stage we did get a little bit of luck, but then again we could have scored two or three goals ourselves in the first half.

Craig Gardner’s goal just before half time gave us something to go after and in the second half and I thought we were terrific.

We did concede and at 2-1 the game is back in the balance again, but the support that we got was phenomenal.

We could have just decided that the efforts against Manchester City were enough and just succumbed, but we didn’t.

There was a big worry to come here tonight; I think people forget what sort of squad we’ve got at the minute, but there’s a good old determination about the team.

All the best,

Martin O’Neill

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13 thoughts on “Martin’s Musings from Wigan: ‘I thought we were terrific’”

  1. While I agree with some of whay Ian is saying I still feel that Phils and Malcolms comments are spot on. Yes Bruce did do well to begin with and losing Bent and Gyan did effect the team, even though both were relatively ineffectual on the pitch at the time.

    Bruces biggest problem was that he put us in to a downward spiral that he was incapable of pulling us out of. His tactics, substitutions and arguments with the fans undermined all that had been achieved. He spent a lot of money and whilst he regained a lot of it (Bent, Henderson, Gyan) the team was not playing better. If he had been allowed to continue then it would have been relegation for us.

    Whilest I can appreciate what he did at the beginning, his actions at the end were deplorable, blaming all and sundry for our fortunes and not walking when in his hearts of hearts he must have known he was out of his depth, and for putting his own personal agenda ahead of that of the Club.

    Any good he did was overshadowed by the bad at the end. It’s interesting how we have not heard what his settlement paymnet was, no doubt to stop the fans ire towards him getting even worse.

  2. I think, Phil & Malcolm, you’re being a little harsh on Bruce. First half of last season he had us well up the top end of the table. He didn’t all of a sudden become a bad manager. I think Bent leaving suddenly with little chance of a replacement hurt us an awful lot. Granted, MON is has better tactical intellect, but I think Bruce assembled perhaps the best squad we’ve ever had at the SOL.
    His mistake was not replacing Bent in the Summer, and letting Gyan go. This meant that we had literally no-one who can regularly, dependably, score goals. Those are the two serious errors he made.
    Defensively, he did well and we still have one of the best defences in the league, having not been beaten by more then 1 goal so far. But that striker issue sunk him.
    Having said that, I think Bruce could have only ever taken us as high as 10th. With MON, he is a top 7 manager.

  3. I assume Jeremy meant that O’Neill has less to work with, bearing in mind all the injuries to defenders and Whickam which have occurred just before and immediately after MON took over. Valid points and if you are right Phil then I’m afraid that the ex manager has even less intelligence than I thought.

    O’Neill has brought ideas, communication skills, tactical know how, man management skills and a flexibility of thought that were sadly lacking.

    I don’t expect the Lads to suddenly become world beaters and there will be defeats to come, but now they are competitive and full of self belief instead of resigned and full of doubt.

    • I don’t doubt that he is a “nice guy” but I don’t, for one moment, think that he ever was the sharpest kid on the block.

      That, for me, was his downfall as he was never bright enough to see his own mistakes even when the world and its’ family could do just that.

  4. Jeremy said “Mrs Doubtfire must be squirming to think how badly he did with even less than O’Neill has been working with.”

    Considering that he always seemed to want to blame someone else for his mistakes I reckon that he will, actually, be thinking is “See! I knew that the results would come and I should have been given more time”.

  5. Ian; Both Colback and Gardner have been outstanding. To think that JC had tweaked his ankle in the warm up and then played through it is testimony to the lad’s character and application. He’s never played there before but stepped up to the plate when asked.

    Two fantastic performances from our lads. They are doing us proud!

  6. I am proud of our players. To play Man City and have your socks ran off, then 48hrs later to go away to Wigan and play in appalling conditions, and to win 1-4 is a heck of an achievement.
    MON has certainly instilled something. I think he has a keen tactical sense, and somehow gets an extra 10% from players. McClean looks an interesting proposition. He doesn’t half put a shift in. He had to run about like a chicken v Man City, and then to do another job just two days later…. well, this goes for the rest of the lads too.
    Now if we can just get a striker who can poke the ball away we’d be top 7 I feel.
    If I was Bardsley I’d be a little nervous at just how well Colback and Gardner are doing.

  7. I thought Sunderland were absolutely fantastic last night. Sessegnon was awesome again and 4 wins in 6 is not to be frowned at – we’ll be fine come May! 🙂

  8. Malcolm sums it up perfectly for me. Bruce was sending players out on to the field and just hoping for the best. You could see the fear and panic every time the camera set on his face. No conviction about his team, no conviction about his formation and tactics, and then invariably compounded by some of the most ridiculous substitutions, and an inexplicable obsession with playing Fabelmo every game.

    O’Neill is doing what he’s doing with midfield players in the full back roles and a centre half in Kilgallon who couldn’t get a run out in the Championship. MK has come into the team and has performed incredibly well. He has turned his career round in the space of 3 days. Well done to him. Whilst the last few weeks have shown what sort of managerial caliber O’Neill has, Mrs Doubtfire must be squirming to think how badly he did with even less than O’Neill has been working with.

    Giving playing time to James McClean has been a masterstroke. He is the sensation of the season!

  9. I said after the Man City game I felt 10 feet tall with my chest puffed out to 100 inches. DOUBLE IT!! So if you see a 20 feet tall fat boy at Peterboring on Sunday that’ll be me.

  10. What I see, as a layman, is a bunch of players going onto the pitch clear about their roles and playing with a purpose. Their organisation, self belief, discipline and resiliance is so much better. The manager has assessed his squad and is able to be imaginative, reactive and rather than bemoan his luck regarding injuries etc. has shuffled his team and seeing their limitations, made it clear to each and every player what he expects from them in terms of positional play, attitude and tactics.

    When others were citing the loss of B£nt and G£an and the mounting injury list as reasons why we were not picking up points I made the point that the test of a good manager was to get the best out of the resources at his disposal. MON has proved this point. Same resources, complete turnaround. An intelligent man, with so much enthusiasm whose attitude is reflected in his players.

    Of course we have areas that need to be improved and the club will be trying to find the right players at the right price but even if there is no activity in this transfer window we can now be more confident that this squad will play to and above their potential.

    The atmosphere within the club, as well as within the ground, must be so much better now.

    Ha’way the Lads!

  11. A makeshift team using players bought by Bruce but seldom used, develops a confidence and hunger for goals entirely unseen under the previous tenure.

    Hey MON what on earth could be the catalyst?

    Bruce had long enough to bring about his vision and suddenly when a disciple of Brian Clough pops a friendly arm around our players shoulders, before beginning horse whisperer techniques in their ears, we begin to score some cracking goals and win games.

    Long may it continue.

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