Wigan Athletic – 5 ways of ensuring Championship survival

3 – Reinforce the Backroom Staff

This is a contentious one. Now look, if money wasn’t a problem I’d probably say yes, lets get rid of Touré and admit it was a huge mistake appointing him before appointing a more experienced option who’d be more suited to keep us up. But if we’re honest there’s next to no chance we pull the trigger and sack him because we spent so much bringing him and his staff in.

So, some might say unfortunately, we’re kind of stuck with Kolo now and we’re just going to have to hope he makes it work. He’s got a very inexperienced coaching team behind him which I think is why Rob Kelly was kept around, to try and add a bit of experience and knowhow to the group. It’s not working though and it feels like he’s got a bigger say on things than others. I can’t prove that, it’s just the impression I get.

The reason I and many others think that is because the style hasn’t changed since Leam left and he is the only common denominator. If anything its got worse and considering his job was probably to make sure the transition between managers as smooth as possible, you’d say he’s failed massively. He’ll definitely be gone in the summer but I’d certainly consider sacking him now, as a lot of people have suggested.

The thing is though we have to replace him and I’d argue we need a new coach regardless of whether he stays or goes. From what I can tell he’s been in charge of our set pieces ever since he came to the club as well as the defensive side of the game. We had James Beattie who was our attacking coach but he has left, I believe Kevin Betsy was his direct replacement.

So should Kelly leave we’d need a new defensive coach because despite the fact he was a great defender in his playing career Kolo doesn’t seem like capable of that job. There are plenty of articles covering his time at Leicester that all reference how poor they were with him in charge of their defensive unit, so much so that Brendan Rodgers appointed an extra defensive coach to sort things out. It just makes the decision to appoint him even more baffling to be honest, but anyway…

I can’t suggest any names because I don’t know who is available, but I have no doubt there are good options out there. Get some experienced coaches in to help sure things up at the back, and ease the pressure on our inexperienced coaching team. We need a Director of Football too but that’s for another article…

4- Play Thelo Aasgaard

Let’s be honest, this could be the last few months of Thelo Aasgaard’s time at Wigan Athletic. Should these 5 points not be followed and Latics succumb to relegation into League One I’d fully expect Thelo to attract some serious attention from clubs all across Europe. Not at the top level, but a club that likes investing in talented youth prospects could absolutely take a punt on him.

He’s a wonderfully talented player and should be one of, if not THE, first name on the team sheet week in week out. I’ve already spoken about our painful lack of creativity and he could easily solve this problem if used correctly and given enough opportunities. He’s by no means the finished product but he offers things nobody else at the club can.

No, not talent, although it does feel like that most of the time! He drags defenders towards him and creates space for team mates simply by being on the pitch. His dribbling and close control has led teams to start doubling up on him in recent games and if we had more attacking players around him we’d be able to utilise that space.

No player in our squad averages more shots per 90 than Thelo, with the majority of them coming from outside the penalty area. We have the 4th lowest total of shots outside the box per 90 in the league which is really poor, especially considering we don’t create many clear cut chances anyway. We need to start firing more shots on goal and Thelo would certainly oblige. Our goal against Sunderland came from him doing that…

More than anything, and I’m going to touch on this more in my final point, his inclusion excites supporters and creates better atmosphere whenever he’s on the pitch. We know that we’re going to struggle in games and I’ve already spoken about our need to play some pretty defensive, gritty football in order to stay up, so having an enigmatic attacking player adds a nice contrast at the top end of the pitch.

He can win us points on his own this season, as he already has done. Play him more.

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