Wigan assistant manager Leam Richardson: Result more important than performance



Posted Sunday, February 25, 2018 by PA

Wigan assistant manager Leam Richardson: Result more important than performance

Wigan assistant manager Leam Richardson admitted the result was far more important than the performance after the 1-0 victory over Rochdale in Sky Bet League One.

Five days after dumping runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City out of the FA Cup, Wigan edged past rock-bottom Rochdale thanks to Michael Jacobs’ 12th-minute strike.

The win keeps them three points behind leaders Blackburn and two adrift of second-placed Shrewsbury – with three games in hand – and Richardson was just happy to get the game out of the way.

“These are big wins, big points, at this time of year,” said Richardson.

“It’s important you keep your structure about you, and stay focused on everything you’re doing.

“Certainly after Monday, and the massive high, we set up to not get beat and just win the game.

“We expected a very tough game from Rochdale, and they certainly gave us one.

“They’re scrapping for their lives, young lads playing with no fear, but credit to our lads for grinding it out.”

Wigan made seven changes for the game, with only goalkeeper Christian Walton, defenders Chey Dunkley and Dan Burn, and midfielder Max Power keeping their starting spots.

And that certainly appeared to have an effect in the disjointed display.

“We had a few injuries, a bit of fatigue, and we wanted to bring in a bit of freshness,” added Richardson.

“Some of the relationships out there worked, some of them didn’t, and you could tell we’d made changes.”

The victory was inches from being doubled in the second half when Max Power rattled the crossbar with a free-kick from range.

However, it would have been harsh on a Rochdale side who were aiming to give themselves a boost ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round replay against Tottenham at Wembley.

“It’s just difficult at the minute, because the players are going through the same roller-coaster as I am, they know they’re better than the position they’re in the table,” said Dale boss Keith Hill.

“Two-thirds of everything we’re doing is as good as it was last year, but results dictate where we are in the league.

“They’re giving me everything, but it’s just the brains, the intelligence, is not quite 100 per cent.

“That’s going to cost us, and it has done again.”

Hill also revealed his decision to withdraw Jim McNulty four minutes before half-time was to ensure he didn’t miss the Spurs game through suspension.

He added: “Basically Jim McNulty got booked early on, and he deserves his opportunity to play at Wembley on Wednesday.

“It was probable he was going to get sent off, with a centre-back being booked so early in the game, and then keenness of referees to show cards for what in my day was just a shoulder charge.

“I had to show Jim a little bit of respect, and I thought it was the right decision to make.”

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