The Head Coach sat down with iFollow Latics ahead of the trip to the West Midlands at the weekend.
Facing against the Saddlers once more, Kewell has had a tight turnaround from Wednesday’s disappointment, but is confident his players will step up to the challenge that faces them.
“I’m confident we’ll get a reaction. I said I was disappointed the other night, not with the way we started and not with the way we finished, just that middle part. We've just got to learn to grow up and compete and be aggressive in the right areas, but still kind of stick to our slight identity at the moment.
“If we believe in it, then we should stick to it, it just felt inferior to the last game. We didn't stick to what we're good at. The great thing about football is there's always another game and it comes thick and fast this week, which is what we're looking forward to.”
With Walsall in and round the tight mid-table cluster where Latics could propel themselves back up the table, Kewell says the 3-2 defeat in December at Boundary Park is still in the memory, but doesn't want that to be the main motivation.
“Now we know what they’re capable of doing. They came over here and were very direct and put us under some extreme pressure. They have a similar way that they’ve played all season, so it's going to be another tough game that we have to be prepared for. I hear the pitch is good there so hopefully we're going to have a good performance and a turnaround from what we saw the other night."
He added: “The important thing that you have to understand with football is you've got to go out there and you got to do your job properly first and foremost. You have to understand the way we want to play. Which is work hard, be disciplined, be confident and you will have a great chance of winning.
“If you don't do any of that and just focus on the fact that they beat us last time, you’re not focused enough to go out there and win.
“So we have to be smart about how we play. We have to be disciplined, we have to be compact, we have to compete. Because I felt when we played them here the competitiveness was a little bit more on their side."
Dearnley came off injured in the midweek game against Mansfield, but with the first addition of 2021 being the loan signing of Marcel Hilssner it’s an attacking option Kewell is ready to use.
“Marcel's got a very good background. He's been brought up the right way. He's had an interesting time since he's been over here in England but Coventry speak very well of him.
“Even though he hasn't played throughout the time he's been here. It's going to be a big, big test, not only for himself but for us as well.
“And if we, if we go about right, I'm sure he's going to be successful, but as a person he is a pleasure to talk to. He's a thinker, technically he's good on the ball. He likes to play forward and with his size, he knows how to be aggressive in the right way whilst having that composure in the final third.
“So these are the things that we saw, and hopefully these are things that he can bring into the team.”
As Hilssner is the sixth loan signing, it does only mean five can be included in the matchday squad, a pricidement the Head Coach is working on.
“I understand we may make a loanee disappointed each game but, again, I go back to, that we're still a young side, so we had to bring in a couple of loan players to bolster the ranks with experience. We will look to have not as many loans in the future, but for the meantime, especially in January it’s usually the only logical option available to us.
He continued: “Slowly we're making progress, which can be frustrating as it's not as fast as we would like, but we have to believe in the process and keep building and developing for the good of the club.
“It's always ideal to have experienced players, but sometimes the only way you do get experience is by playing together as a team.
“I'm not too concerned about the fact that it is a very young, inexperienced team but what I'm concerned about is when we make mistakes we’ve got to learn from them because everybody can make a mistake, but once you learn from it that's the main thing.
“I've just seen one or two times that we've made the same kind of mistakes. That means we're not learning, which is heartbreaking really, because you want to be able to provide an environment where players are learning.
“We do provide that but then again the players have to take that responsibility on that element as well by wanting to go out there and learn and being able to correct it.”
With just a single training session in between the two games this week, the Head Coach was quick to reiterate to the player that now is their time to stand up and help improve what has become a recent downturn in results and momentum.
“Like I said, the great thing about football is games come along and you always can correct it. We know in this league it's very competitive and there’s not much separating a lot of teams so we have to be able to show character, first and foremost, and if we do that, and we get our results back to what they were, especially on the road we can start to see some progression again.
“There's still a long way to go, we're at the halfway point and I know there's a lot more in my team in what they can give on the pitch. We just have to believe in ourselves that little bit more and we will turn things around."