Latics suffered another loss by a number of goals, this time away at Exeter City and Head Coach Dino Maamria gave his honest assessment of the game.
The Head Coach was left a frustrated figure last night and demands a lot more from his side.
"It was a strange game. In that first-half we played well and their goalkeeper made some good saves. Then the sending off was a disastrous decision and I’m really disappointed because as a captain he should know better than to give a penalty away and get a red card for it, the worst-case scenario let the goal stand and go again with eleven men.
"We were capable of coming from behind the first time and we came back stronger. We were well in the game the first-half, Exeter knew that too, so to lose it 5-1 it is hard to take. But I’m just really bitterly disappointed with the second-half because the message was clear to stay in the game as long as possible by being compact and tight to see how the game finished later on and to see if we could take a gamble in the last ten minutes." He added.
"But the third goal is just really disappointing to score from 25/30 yards out and that’s probably the moment that one or two heads dropped down even further. You’re always learning about the team, the characters for when things aren’t going well on a tough Tuesday night and you look at the state of the pitch when it’s about winning the first or second ball and not a lot of football is going to be played on it. We didn’t do them things well especially in the second-half.
"Every man has got to do a man-and-a-half of a job with ten men against a good team and we didn’t do that. I’m disappointed for the fans that travelled all that way, apologies to them, we did have a very good 40 minutes and I think that they will have appreciated that so everyone who turned up would have seen our domination in the first-half, but the sending off changed the momentum of the game and the scoreline."
Maamria believes his side had plenty of opportunities in the first-half to score more goals but felt his team were vulnerable from Exeter’s counter-attacks.
"I’m disappointed with the first-half as well because we should have scored two, three or four more, but we only scored one and that was from a set-piece so although we had that many chances.
"If we scored two or three it takes the pressure off in other areas and I’m disappointed as well because probably the only two attacks they had in the first-half they scored from and that’s not acceptable.
"Sometimes when you play that expansive football where our full-backs go forward we leave ourselves vulnerable, however, our defenders have got to defend 1v1s better. We knew what their threats were, and we carefully planned about their threats and they were hitting us on the counter in the first-half. So as good as we were going forwards, I thought defensively we looked very vulnerable as well."
Midfielder Christopher Missilou had a goal taken away from him late in the game and the gaffer claims things aren’t going his sides’ way at the moment which mounts more pressure.
"Luck is against us as you saw with Missilou’s ruled out goal, I know that it wouldn’t have made much difference but it’s frustrating. We lost 5-1 and despite the sending off its still ten men there who had enough to get back into the game and we didn’t do that.
"I’ve got to reflect on that, and I’ve got to look at the character of the team and individual players because I’m building a team for next season.
"To build a good team next season, I need players that can turn up on a Tuesday night at Exeter on not a very good surface, but they can grind a result out and that’s the team that I’m trying to build and to do that you need characters, I’m not sure we’ve got enough of that right now."
Latics were down to ten men before the interval and the boss stated that his players must have the right attitude and work ethic to deal with the disadvantage.
"I think it’s state of mind, if you want to give you can give up and to think with ten men we can’t do enough, I don’t believe in that, I believe that with ten men when it’s 2-1 it’s backs to the wall and the guys need to do more, that’s my mentality and I’ve got to transfer that to the players.
"Our players haven’t got that mentality and we feel sorry for ourselves and we’ve gone to ten and we’ve gone into our shells saying we’ve got the ten men excuse. It’s not an excuse, I’m devastated and disgusted, we lost 5-1 there is no hiding from it ten men or eleven men, it’s a bad scoreline and we should not allow that."
Maamria has now urged his side to become more consistent and claims it’s an important element for success in Sky Bet League Two.
"McCann is a good player and we’ve got some good players there, but what’s the definition of a good player? A good player is a good player every week.
"You see the Exeter players they are journeymen League Two players and they know how to win, you don’t see ten out of ten and you don’t see three out of ten you see solid six/seven out of ten each week and they know how to win and they do the basics really well and as a team, we don’t do enough of that.
"Sometimes, we look like an unbelievable team and other times we don’t look very good, so you can’t win anything without consistency, and we need consistency and characters who can turn it on every game and we haven’t got that, yet."