Wigan boss Coyle disappointed after Rubin loss

08 November 2013 08:46

Wigan boss Owen Coyle was keen to give credit to his players after seeing them lose 1-0 at Rubin Kazan in a Europa League Group D contest he felt the Latics deserved at least a point from.

The only goal of the game at the Central Stadium came in the 22nd minute when Oleg Kuzmin latched on to a lofted ball into the area and cracked it home, giving 21-year-old goalkeeper Lee Nicholls virtually no chance.

The rest of the first half was relatively subdued, but the visitors - whose starting XI featured six changes from their previous match - showed plenty of endeavour after the break and came close to equalising, with Thomas Rogne heading against the bar and James McClean's touch diverting the ball just wide.

Reflecting afterwards on what was the first defeat of Wigan's maiden European campaign, Coyle said: "I was a little bit annoyed in that from our point of view, it was a soft goal to lose.

"But in the second half, we dominated a very good side.

"We certainly shouldn't be leaving here on the end of a 1-0 scoreline. We have hit the woodwork and had numerous chances in the second half.

"In our first foray in European football, I think this was an outstanding performance - we looked like a very mature European team and I was delighted with them.

"My only disappointment is to leave with no points, because we certainly deserved to take something from the game."

Around 150 fans had made the lengthy journey from Wigan to Russia to see the Sky Bet Championship side take on group leaders Rubin, who they had drawn with 1-1 at the DW Stadium in their last European outing.

And Coyle felt his team had responded to the supporters' efforts with a suitable performance.

"I felt the players were a credit to the football club," Coyle said.

"The fans travelled here to Kazan, who have made everyone feel very welcome, and I felt the players certainly showed application and a lot of quality at times as well on a difficult pitch.

"We are disappointed, but not with the performance - only in terms that we have taken no points and lost our uneaten record in European football."

Zulte Waregem beat Maribor 1-0 in Thursday's other Group D match and with all four teams in the pool having played four times, Rubin are top with 10 points, Wigan second on five, Zulte third on four and Maribor fourth on three.

The Latics have a home clash with Zulte, who they drew 0-0 with away, and trip to Maribor, who they beat 3-1 at home, left to come and Coyle is feeling confident about gaining the top-two spot required for qualification to the knockout rounds.

"I think at the outset, everybody felt - and rightly so - that Rubin would be the favourites to win the group," Coyle said.

"But with what we have shown in the two games, home and away against Rubin, we are confident going into our last two group games.

"We have the quality to progress from the group.

"We have to keep putting in performances like tonight and if we do that it will see us earn enough points to qualify for the knockout stages.

"On another day it would have resulted in not even a draw but a win for us.

"There are a lot of positives and is a lot to be pleased about."

Giving his view of the game, Rubin coach Kurban Berdyev said: "We deserved this victory for sure.

"Maybe we faltered in some moments, but in terms of the game in general, it was okay.

"It is difficult to say that Wigan were dominating (towards the end).

"On the counter-attack we could have scored more goals."

Source: PA