Coyle backs Nicholls

Owen Coyle backed young goalkeeper Lee Nicholls to come back stronger from a glaring error made against Zulte Waregem.

Last Updated: 28/11/13 at 23:25 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  Europa League. Click here to bet.

Zulte Waregem Zulte Waregem players celebrate

Zulte Waregem Zulte Waregem players celebrate

Owen Coyle backed young goalkeeper Lee Nicholls to come back stronger from the glaring error that contributed to Wigan's costly Europa League defeat by Zulte Waregem.

The Latics went into the game knowing victory over the Belgians, who they drew with in their first ever European game in September, would send them through to the last 32.

All looked rosy when Leon Barnett gave them a seventh-minute lead, and they missed a number of chances to add to it.

But in the 37th minute Wigan lost the ball from their own corner and it ended up with Zulte's Thorgan Hazard on the right side of the penalty area.

The Belgian, the brother of Eden and on loan from Chelsea, hit a well-struck shot that Nicholls tried to catch only for the ball to squirm through his hands and into the net.

The real sucker punch then came two minutes from time when Junior Malanda curled a fine effort into the top corner to earn Zulte a 2-1 win.

Francky Dury's side are now in pole position to join Rubin Kazan in the knockout stages, with Wigan needing to beat Maribor in Slovenia in their final Group D game and hope table-toppers Rubin can defeat Zulte.

Nicholls, 21, came into the team a month ago after Scott Carson suffered an ankle injury and had made a very positive impression.

Coyle said: "He's been terrific since he came in. I've told him that as much as he's made a mistake he'll play on Sunday again because that's the confidence and the belief that we have in him.

"We'll pick him up and he'll go on to have a great career, I've got no doubts about it.

"If a goalkeeper makes a mistake then invariably it results in a goal. I had a career as a striker and I missed chances every game, but when you play at the top end of the pitch and you get a goal then all is forgotten.

"He's been terrific up to now and that's the life of a goalkeeper. He'll be stronger for the experience as hurtful as it is, and I know how conscientious he is.

"He's got a big career ahead of him and that's what he's got to focus on."

The main frustration for Coyle and Wigan was that they allowed Zulte to get a foothold in a game in which they had been totally outplayed.

Hazard's shot was the first time Nicholls was called upon while his opposite number Sammy Bossut made saves from Callum McManaman, James McClean and Nick Powell in the first half before denying Powell again in the second.

Coyle said: "I thought it was a very good performance from the lads, we controlled the game.

"We were 1-0 up and it should have been two or three, and that's come back to bite us because we had the chances to put the game to bed.

"The young kid's made a mistake, which can happen to anybody. In the second half we still had chances, probably not as many as the first half, but certainly over the 90 minutes there's no doubt we probably deserved to win that game.

"I think they had two shots on target all night. The boy's obviously had a wonderful finish late on, although we think we could have avoided the build-up in terms of the easy possession in the box.

"It's a cruel game and that's what's happened tonight. We're hurt, of course we are, because we wanted to qualify, it would have been fantastic for the football club."


New Sky Bet customers: Claim free £5 bet every week


Bet with SkyBet  Europa League. Click here to bet.

Related News

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

e was right to leave, but not just because of the money City were coming into. If I remember rightly he had a reasonable amount of chances to shine at City, but he never passed the bloody ball. Loads of aimless dribbles and 40 yard shots and not much else. I would say that if he had learnt to be a bit more of a team player he may have done better at City.

bright and edgy
Sturridge: Right to leave City

O

h! And.... has it gone in!?' Well John, it is quite literally your job to tell me, so stop phrasing it as a question.

ajsr1982
Eye On The Experts: John Motson

M

an who resembles bond villain complains about spies ....brillliant

mrjackson
Palace deny spying accusation

Footer 365

Premier League: Peter Whittingham refusing to give up on Cardiff's survival bid

Peter Whittingham believes there is still all to play for as Cardiff City scrap to secure their Premier League status.

Premier League: David de Gea wants European football at Manchester United

David de Gea says Man United are determined to ensure that they will be competing in European competition next season.

Premier League: Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini stands by selection

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini insists he has no regrets about starting Vincent Kompany at Liverpool on Sunday.

Mail Box

Worried Liverpool Will Become A Selling Club

Liverpool fans in the mailbox are not too worried about sour grapes from United supporters, but one admits he's scared the Reds could end up selling their best players...

United Should Have Gone For Bruce And Hughes

A mailbox asking why United did not go for two old boys over Moyes, what Wenger's targets were for the season and whether he's had a better season than Pellegrini..?

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property