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Wigan boss targets play-offs

New Wigan manager Uwe Rosler believes his side can reach the Sky Bet Championship play-offs after beating Reading 2-1.

Last Updated: 21/12/13 at 19:11 Post Comment

Uwe Rosler: Eyeing the play-offs

Uwe Rosler: Eyeing the play-offs

A second successive league victory, thanks to two early goals against Reading at the Madejski Stadium, leaves Wigan in 12th place and only six points off the top six.

"Of course, I came here to make that happen but, for the moment, I just focus on the next game," Rosler said.

"We have the possibility, with a good run, to sneak into the play-offs.

"All the teams that I have had always have a strong end to the season. I think that will happen here as well. I'm confident that it is achievable.

"We've started the last few games in similar fashion. Reading had massive problems, lost their confidence and had the crowd on their backs.

"At 2-0 up, we should have had more goals, but we just couldn't keep it up. When you don't kill the game off, then you can always come under pressure yourselves."

Wigan started off at express pace and were 2-0 ahead after only 12 minutes.

For the first goal, James McArthur and James McClean combined for Chris McCann to guide a well-directed 20-yard shot past Reading keeper Alex McCarthy.

It was no more than Wigan deserved after a bright opening.

Two minutes later, they doubled their lead. Home central defender Alex Pearce inexplicably allowed a hopeful punt forward to evade him and Nick Powell nipped in to beat McCarthy from close range.

It was not until just past the half-hour that Reading created their first chance, with Pavel Pogrebnyak forcing a fine save from Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

Wigan led comfortably at the interval but Reading had the opportunity to close the gap eight minutes into the second half.

Right-back Chris Gunter was held back by McCann in the Wigan area, for an obvious penalty award, but Billy Sharp blazed his spot-kick high over Al Habsi's crossbar.

Reading persisted and did reduce the deficit in the 68th minute.

Danny Guthrie crossed from the right and Pogrebnyak sent in a looping header that arced over Al Habsi and into the net. It signalled a ferocious late onslaught, in which Reading went close on numerous occasions.

A Guthrie free-kick narrowly missed the target, Pogrebnyak just failed to connect with an Adam Le Fondre cross and Pogrebnyak struck an upright with a fierce, angled drive.

It was Reading's second successive home defeat and they dropped to sixth in the table.

"That poor start cost us dearly," manager Nigel Adkins said.

"We tried to control the game but there was a bit of nervousness. And you just can't legislate for giving away goals like that, they were shocking.

"We changed the shape of the team after half-an-hour and got a lot better. We were on the front foot for most of the second half and showed a lot of character and ability to get back into it.

"We were in the ascendancy but, unfortunately, just ran out of time."

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C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

hump3.
Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

H

e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on

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urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

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