‘I told them not to panic’: What Wigan’s stand-in boss said about their comeback win against 10-man Blackpool

Wigan Athletic’s stand-in boss Rob Kelly always felt his side would be able to capitalise on Blackpool’s early red card.
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Blackpool fans turn on Michael Appleton as Wigan Athletic condemn 10-man Seaside...

Despite the setback, Michael Appleton’s men initially responded well and took the lead thanks to Gary Madine’s piledriver.

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But the home side, who were left managerless during the week after the sacking of Leam Richardson, hit back with two goals in the second-half from James McClean and former Seasider Curtis Tilt to take all three points.

The result sees Blackpool slip into the bottom three following a fourth straight defeat ahead of their one-month World Cup break.

"It was one big collective effort,” Kelly told our sister paper, Wigan Today.

"It was difficult when the opposition had a man sent off very early. We had a similar situation ourselves at Birmingham at the start of the season (when Joe Bennett was sent off) and you're able to sit in and there's less expectation.

Wigan's interim boss Rob KellyWigan's interim boss Rob Kelly
Wigan's interim boss Rob Kelly
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"We've not been on a great run, so confidence wasn't massively high, although I don't think we've ever lost track of what direction we're going in.

"We just tried to keep things as calm as we possibly could, made one or two tweaks at half-time, but nothing we wouldn’t have done with Leam still here.

"I told the guys at half-time not to panic, we still had 45 or even 50 minutes to get the job done and just to move the ball around a bit quicker.

"The Championship is a slog, the schedule is so hectic and I did feel the longer it went, I did feel gaps would open up for us and we would get chances.

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"We needed to try and play with a bit more width and get the ball into the box and fortunately today that's what happened.”

Kelly added: “Leam will be delighted with the win, because that's just the kind of guy he is.

"It's been a difficult few days for everyone, because he was so central to everything that was going on here - on and off the pitch.

"But the staff and the players have been brilliant, and we're all delighted with the three points."