DEAN DOWN AS VILLA COLLAPSE
DEAN Smith said Aston Villa’s Sky Bet Championship defeat at Wigan Athletic has left him at the lowest point of his managerial career.
Villa were second best across the board at the DW Stadium against a Wigan side that had won only one of their last 14 matches.
But goals from Gary Roberts, Michael Jacobs and Joe Garner moved Paul Cook’s men to six points above the drop zone.
“I told the players after the game this is the bottom of where I’ve been so far in my managerial career,” admitted Smith.
“And it should be the bottom of where Aston Villa is.
“Listen, I’m an Aston Villa fan, and to lose 3-0 two weeks on the spin is very, very disappointing.
“That performance was rubbish – it was very poor. I’ve got to earn my money now and make sure it never happens again.”
For Wigan manager Paul Cook it was a welcome three points after a worrying run of results – not helped by injuries to several key players.
One of them, Jacobs, returned from three months out to put Wigan two goals up after a great cross from Lee Evans.
“It’s been a tough couple of months for us, since we beat Blackburn at home (on November 28),” said Cook.
“But watching us, you could never imagine we were a team that was in trouble. I thought from the first minute to the 90th we were excellent.”
Wigan had flown out of the traps and after Reece James crossed from the right Windass could only steer his shot straight at Lovre Kalinic. In the blink of an eye, Wigan were almost punished for their profligacy, as they have so often been over the past couple of months.
Goalkeeper Jamie Jones – making his first league start of the season, in place of on-loan Christian Walton -– rolled the ball out to Cedric Kipre, who couldn’t control the ball.
That allowed Yannick Bolasie to feed Tammy Abraham, but the striker – with 12 goals in his last 10 games – smashed inches wide. Wigan went ahead four minutes before the break when, after a brilliant save from Kalinic denied Garner from Kal Naismith’s cross, the rebound fell to Anthony Pilkington, on debut, who teed up Roberts, and the finish at the near post was clinical.
Windass missed a great chance to make it 2-0 shortly after the restart, and Wigan sent on fresh legs in the form of Jacobs and Nathan Byrne.
Villa boss Smith went even further, making a triple change shortly after the hour mark, in the hope Whelan, Kortney Hause and Albert Adomah could make a difference.
But it didn’t affect the flow of the game, and Wigan scored further goals to underline their superiority.
A cracking cross from Lee Evans was headed home at the far post by Jacobs with 11 minutes remaining. And four minutes later Windass was tripped in the area by Whelan, allowing Garner to slot home the spot-kick to make it 3-0.
POINTING THE WAY: Wigan’s Michael Jacobs celebrates scoring his side’s second goal, inset
STAR MAN REES JAMES Wigan