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Wellens Praises Defence Following Derby Day Draw

18 April 2018

Manager Richie Wellens praised his defensive line following last night’s goalless draw against local rivals Rochdale.

The key moment came in the first half, 10 minutes before the break, as Anthony Gerrard was adjudged to have fouled Joe Thompson.

Joe Rafferty stepped up but goalkeeper Johny Placide guessed the right way and made a save.

Speaking about the game, Wellens said: “The best players on the pitch for me were my goalkeeper, back four, my defensive midfield, Ousmane Fane was outstanding, but my attacking players didn’t really turn up.

“We had a number of opportunities to counter but we didn’t move the ball quick enough and we didn’t get them on the back foot.

“We didn’t really pass the ball well enough but in terms of the attitude, work rate and desire, it was outstanding but we just lacked that quality to get on the ball and play.

“Rochdale are a team that want to play at 100 miles an hour and maybe we got lulled into playing like that as well. They have made four or five chances in the first half but they are from our mistakes.

“I thought our shape was good and we defended well but the mistakes we made, they made chances from.”

Wellens gave his thoughts on the penalty decision and hailed his goalkeeper.

“It looked a penalty but to be fair to Johny, he has pulled off a great save,” he said. “If you give him confidence he can grow from that.

“He needs to keep that confidence and belief going because he is performing really well at the moment.”

Latics extended their unbeaten run to five games. “We are drawing too many games,” Wellens admitted.

“Managers will say this throughout the country that we should have had more points but tonight we did well to get a point.

“We hung in but in the Walsall, Oxford and Gillingham games, we thought we deserved more points.

“We have got four more games to play and we will try to get enough points to keep us in the league.”

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