Owen Coyle believes Wigan Athletic’s Europa League destiny is in their own hands after last night’s 1-1 draw against Rubin Kazan at the DW Stadium.
The Latics remain unbeaten in Group D at the halfway stage after a win and two draws and manager Coyle believes that his team should qualify for the next phase of the competition.
Nick Powell’s equaliser late in the first half secured a well-earned draw against the free-scoring Russian Premier League side who took the lead in the 15th minute.
“It puts us in a nice position and our destiny’s in our own hands. That’s what we want. If we go unbeaten over the last three games, it should be enough to qualify,” said Coyle.
“We knew they were a quality side and they showed that. All credit to the lads, they strictly stuck to their task and scored a great goal through Nick Powell.
“I think everything pleased me. I was certainly disappointed by the goal, but we looked a threat all night.”
Kazan’s goalkeeper made a wonder save with the last kick of the ball from Marc-Antoine Fortune to deny Wigan three valuable points but Coyle said he was delighted with his side’s application.
The manager was also full of praise for England under-21 striker Powell, who is on a season-long loan from Manchester United and has now scored three goals in two European games for the Latics.
“After the season with us he will be good enough to go back and challenge (for a place at United). He still has a lot to improve on and he will tell you that but he has ability.
“His aspirations should be after this season to go and challenge for Manchester United’s first team and that will put him in the eyes of the national team.
“I believe he has everything in his locker, with progression and natural development, to attain that level.”
Powell, 19, said Kazan’s past Champions League status meant a draw was always going to be a good result.
“I thought we might have popped it, but I think a draw was the fair result really. We knew if we got a result here and a result away to Rubin we’ll have a great chance of qualifying.”
Latics face tough trips to NK Maribor and Rubin Kazan as well as a home tie against Zulte Waregem in the rest of their group matches, while in the league they face a trip to Charlton Athletic on Sunday.
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