Cook unhappy with Wigan’s ‘criminal’ defending in Blackburn defeat

Wigan manager Paul Cook described the goals his side gave away as “absolutely criminal” after his side’s 3-0 defeat at Blackburn.

A Danny Graham penalty – his 50th goal for the club – opened the scoring six minutes before half-time, and the striker doubled his tally in the 54th minute with a composed finish.

Bradley Dack’s 86th-minute, close-range strike put the icing on the cake but atrocious Wigan defending contributed to all goals.

Wigan are in relegation trouble, three points above the bottom three, and are winless in seven.

Cook called the performance a “flat point”.

He said: “For Wigan fans in general, it’s probably as disappointing a night as we’ve had. The disappointment and pain must set in.

“The reality is we are in a really deep struggle at the minute, there’s no getting away from that.

“Tonight is not a night for putting rallying cries out. The best way to respond to pain is to make sure you take it in, and we’ve got a massive game on Saturday against Bolton. We have to see a reaction.

“Under my tenure at the club, it’s a really flat point. Going forward, if we want to maintain our status in this division, and it is a tough division, we’ve got to stand up and be counted.

“In the game, we had chances after that (the penalty). Unfortunately, the goals we gave away were absolutely criminal, and that’s football. Players have to take responsibility and managers do. Tonight is a bad night.”

The win ended Blackburn’s own seven-game winless streak and it moves them to 16th.

Tony Mowbray was going to rest Graham for this game but was delighted to change his mind after the striker scored his 13th league goal of the term.

Mowbray said: “Whilst we weren’t at our most fluent tonight – apart from the last 20 minutes – I thought we were good with the ball, moved it around and caused them some problems.

“We could have scored another goal or two but it’s just important to get the result and the losing streak out of our system.

“Danny Graham wasn’t even in my side yesterday morning in training because I thought a three-game week, and he did so well against Sheffield Wednesday in the game here that I thought I’d save him because their centre-halves won’t look forward to playing against him, and I’d give him a rest.

“But I slept on it, and changed my mind, and thankfully I did because he scored his goals and led the team from the front, though he might have picked up a strain at the end.

“We got the job done tonight and that’s the most important thing.”