Life at the Latics off to a flyer for Cook
PAUL Cook says life in charge of Wigan couldn’t have got off to a better start after opening day at Stadium MK saw the Latics shake off last season’s relegation woes.
The former Portsmouth boss’ summer switch saw him take charge of a Wigan side who hadn’t won away from home since the beginning of March, but Nick Powell’s strike midway through the first half was more than enough to see off an MK side clearly yet to gel.
Although lacking much action in front of goal, the tie also saw both Wigan’s Callum Elder and MK’s Scott Wootton shown straight red cards by referee Kevin Johnson, who was surrounded inside the tunnel at halftime.
“You can debate the game as much as want,” said Cook.
“You ask us to respect the referees more and we’re trying to do that but they have to try and be more consistent in their decisions – we must work together on achieving that.
“I thought we thoroughly deserved our victory.
“We created several good chances throughout the game against a very good side in MK Dons – they’re going to be up there at the end of the season.
“It’s always nice to start with a win but there’s such a long way to go.”
Wigan made their early pressure pay when they took the lead minutes before halftime after Michael Jacobs surged forward before slotting a through ball into the path of the onrushing Powell, who poked home from inside the box.
But both sides were left up in arms either side of half-time as referee Johnson showed questionable straightred cards to Wigan’s Elder for a suspected two-footed lunge moments from the break before MK’s Wootton also saw red for a last-ditch challenge on Latics winger Jacobs on 58 minutes.
“We’re obviously disappointed with the result, although I thought in aspects, we played well,” insisted MK boss Robbie Neilson.
“Wigan are going to be one of the top teams in the league this year and I think our performance showed that we can more than match them.
“We’re obviously disappointed not to come away with some points at the start of the season.
“It’s disappointing from our point of view that they’ve come away and scored on the counter-attack and then we get a man sent off from the same sort of situation – but Wigan are a top team.”