Selim Benachour continues in the dugout as interim Head Coach with Latics hosting rivals Tranmere Rovers tomorrow evening (7:45pm KO) and he provided his thoughts ahead of the Sky Bet League Two encounter.
After a disappointing run of results in the league, Benachour remains upbeat about his side’s fortunes following a professional performance and victory against Sunderland in the Papa John’s Trophy as well as the individual brilliance of Harry Vaughan.
"It was good for the team because we needed a victory to bring some positivity amongst the group and around the club after a tough period of results.
"I think that it’s been very important especially with the preparation for the next game and winning matches means that we’ve had plenty of happy faces on the training pitch and it was very important that we qualified for the next round of the competition." He commented.
"We know the amount of quality that Harry (Vaughan) possesses and he's a kid that likes to work hard and gives everything for the badge alongside his abundance of ability.
"I'm very happy and pleased for him to get that goal because he deserved it. He’s had a long pathway, so it hasn’t been easy because he was small and struggled physically, but now he’s showed a lot of personality in his game and I like it.”
In terms of the morale of the squad, the gaffer boosted the spirits amongst the players as he arranged for a team meal which occurred last weekend with no fixture, and he believes that it has strengthened their bond.
"We’re trying to organise a lot of things like that such as meals, paintballing or bowling because we need to create a positive culture and spirit amongst the squad away from the pitch.
"We need to see them more away from the club and I think that it’s good for the spirit of the team and for the bond which is something we’re keen to build. And, I’m trying to create more things like this and I believe that we’ll notice a difference really soon. It's simple tactics but it may help in the busy month we all have coming up where we need to get points."
Tranmere have demonstrated their resolute and stern nature in their backline throughout the campaign which has resulted in them conceding the joint-fewest in the division, but Benachour has faith in his players to get a result from the game.
"We’ve studied them, they lost their last game which was in the FA Cup, and I’ve seen three or four of their games. They’re a good team, so we need to be ready to fight and win challenges and win second balls in the middle of the park as well as deliver crosses into good areas in order to cause them some damage.
"They’re tenth in the league, so it’s definitely not going to be an easy game, but all games in League Two are tough. We need to be ready and we must have the right mindset ahead of the game.
"We need to play our own game though because we’re so good when we try to build and when we try to pass through the lines and when we pass to our midfielders in the pockets, so we will play our own game as we did against Sunderland. We will go for the victory, we always play for the win, that’s for sure."
Once again, Benachour praised the support from the fans following a sold-out away end at Salford City and a number of Latics faithful that loyally travelled up to the North East in freezing cold conditions.
"It's fantastic that they’re still with us, they’ve spent a lot of time following the team and some of them are here for every single game, so it's our duty to clap them because we really appreciate their constant support.
"We need to win games, and not only win them, but we need to control games and produce entertaining and attacking football for them to enjoy. My target is to change the style of the side and recreate the bond with the fanbase because we need them and it’s our job to give everything on the pitch."
Latics have notoriously struggled with several injuries this season, but the interim Head Coach alludes to the fact that he has more or less a full squad to pick from against the Merseyside-based outfit.
"Everybody's basically fit after a little break with no game, so I'll have a headache with my team selection, but it's a good thing. I want it to be this way because it’s great to have nobody injured. Junior (Luamba) is coming back from injury and he played and scored with the Youth Team, so I have all my full squad available for the game."