Uwe Rosler bemoans busy winter schedule and ‘inexperienced’ referee as Wigan Athletic exit Europe

By Colin Rhodes

New Wigan Athletic boss Uwe Rosler believes that lack of time with his players will hamper their attempt to regroup after exiting the Europa League last night with their sixth successive defeat – the German’s first game in charge.

Latics lost their crucial final group game 2-1 to NK Maribor in Slovenia in a match filled with controversy and face a massive local derby at home to Bolton on Sunday.

Wigan needed to win and hope Rubin Kazan could beat Zulte Waregem in the other game in the group, which they did 2-0 making defeat all the harder for former Manchester City striker Rosler.

“The big problem we have over the coming weeks is time. There isn’t enough of it to fully work with the players on the training ground,” said Rosler.

“We have to come through this intense programme and when we get to January, when the schedule is less congested, then we can put even more things into practice.

“Fitness is the big issue now and making sure we recover in time for Sunday’s game, so the medical staff will all be working hard to get the players ready for the derby.”

The match turned on a controversial sending off after Chris McCann received a second-yellow for handling the ball in the box.

Wigan keeper Scott Carson saved  Dejan Mezga’s penalty onto the post but could not prevent him from tapping in the loose ball to level the scores after Jordi Gomez had put Latics in front with a 41st minute penalty.  

Zalijko Filipovic’s long-range strike broke the hearts of the 1000-strong travelling fans and sealed victory for Maribor, who finished second in the group to reach the last 32.

A red card for Maribor’s Ales Mertelj late on gave Wigan a glimmer of hope but it was not to be, ending their European adventure.

Rosler said he was ‘gobsmacked’ by Polish referee Szymon Marciniak’s decision to not only award Maribor a soft penalty before the break, but also for sending McCann off.

“Sometimes in football you come up against circumstances you cannot control and tonight the players certainly deserved a better performance from the referee,” said the 45-year-old.

“We controlled the game, made them tire because of how well we kept the ball and everything was going our way apart from the 30 seconds after we scored our goal.

“One or two players switched off and we allowed Maribor to get too close to our box. Having said that it should never have been a penalty. The shot has hit Chris’ (McCann) thigh and bounced onto his arm but there’s nothing he can do to avoid that.”

Image courtesy of Latics Official via YouTube, with thanks.

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