New Wigan Athletic manager Malky Mackay has said that he feels extremely grateful for his welcome following his first match in charge of the club at the weekend.
The Latics drew 1-1 against high-flying Middlesbrough with a phenomenal free-kick from Shaun Maloney that showed the controversy of the week had clearly not put them off their game.
Mackay had a rough week having to fight his corner against criticism but he was pleased with how Wigan players and fans brought his spirits up and proved they are a team that don’t lose focus.
He said: “The hairs on the back of my neck were up with the terrific welcome I got and I’ll be forever grateful for that, no matter what happens.
“Today will be forever special for the fact that the Wigan people and Wigan Athletic fans welcomed me into their town like that.
“Overall I thought they worked very hard and, playing against a team of that level, I’ve got to be very happy.”
Mackay’s men are now looking forward to Sheffield Wednesday away from home this weekend where a win will be vital for the Scottish boss to prove he is an improvement on former manager Uwe Rosler.
The German left the Latics in the heart of the relegation zone but he did lead them to victory over the Owls home and away last season, so Mackay has another important challenge ahead.
Top players such as Maloney and the returning Chris McCann will be, Mackay believes, very significant in orchestrating their comeback.
He added: “You need X Factor players and players that can do something special.
“The amount of second balls Chris won in there today was phenomenal, especially for someone who has been out for such a long period of time.
“Shaun had come in for a bit of rough treatment really. It was a sublime free-kick and he’s got massive quality that’s something I know from looking at him from a far, it’s about making sure that comes out on the pitch.”
Wigan have only managed three wins since the start of this season but the Owls are also without a win since September.
After winning against third-placed Middlesbrough, this will surely be a gleaming opportunity for Mackay to make his mark.
Main image courtesy of Wigan Athletic via YouTube, with thanks.