Wigan manager Shaun Maloney was thrilled with every aspect of his side’s 3-0 victory over 10-man Fleetwood at the DW Stadium.
The home side led 2-0 thanks to goals from Jordan Jones and Sean Clare when Joshua Earl was sent off for the Cod Army in first-half stoppage time for simulation in the penalty area.
The second period was only damage limitation, with Tom Pearce firing home a cracking free-kick just past the hour mark to put the icing on the cake.
“I thought the first half was very good and the contest changed in the second half after the sending off,” said Maloney.
“We had some brilliant individual performances, which always helps.
“I know we have some really talented players – (Martial) Godo, (Stephen) Humphrys and (Jordan) Jones were brilliant – and when we got them into good positions their talent took over.
“But I still loved the fact they gave me just as much out of possession as in it.
“In the second half, the game became reasonably controlled, the game was very, very different.
“Some games when we play the way we did tonight, I really enjoy watching it.
“But in other games, you can also enjoy the fight equally as much.
“And you have to show both sides if you want to get anywhere in this league.”
For Fleetwood manager Lee Johnson, it was a night that started badly – as Wigan led inside four minutes – and got progressively worse.
“It was a tough watch for sure,” he said. “This team has a lot to do, we knew that when we came in, the position we picked the club up in.
“But we’ve got a responsibility to the town, in my view, to the staff, to the people who work at the club, to give more than we gave in the first half.
“And that is what really, really hurts me.
“The game-changing moment, even though we were already 2-0 down, was obviously the penalty…or the sending off.
“It’s definitely not simulation, there’s no doubt about that, there is definitely contact.
“So the referee, in my view, has to either give a penalty or a goal kick, it’s as simple as that.
“We’ve been let down by the system in that sense and that’s where it becomes really frustrating for me as a manager because you can’t even appeal two yellows.
“The system seems pretty broken in that sense because we’re going to lose a player for a game that we don’t deserve to.
“In the second half, we salvaged a little bit of pride, in terms of the effort and the energy and the work rate.
“But there’s a lot to do, the confidence wasn’t there in the first half to play the way we wanted to play and it got progressively worse.
“Good players were making bad decisions too often and we might have to adjust how we look to start games.”
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