We'll stay up - Jewell

Wigan boss Paul Jewell admits it would take an extraordinary collapse for his side not to retain their Premiership status following another impressive win tonight, with goals from Jason Roberts and Henri Camara handing the Latics a 2-0 victory at West Ham.

It was a third straight Premiership victory for Jewell’s men, who have also reached the semi-finals of the Carling Cup and now sit proudly in fifth place - only two more wins short of the fabled 40-point mark.

Although taking nothing for granted, the Latics boss knows there are plenty of reasons to be positive heading into the second half of the campaign.

“Our only objective at the start of the season was to stay in the league, and that won’t change. We should do that – and it is going to be a Devon Loch of all Devon Lochs if we don’t,” the Latics manager declared, in reference to the collapse just yards from the post suffered by the race leader – and Queen Mother’s horse – in the final stages of the 1956 Grand National.

“But you have seen the jockey yesterday [at Leopardstown] celebrating too soon – I will get banned if we don’t stay up.

“It just shows what happens if you take your eye off the ball and think you are home and hosed.

“We will just try to scratch as many points off as we can, get them as quickly as we can and if we get can get enough that will maybe keep us up, then perhaps we can enjoy the rest of the season a bit more.

“But I will keep driving the players on to finish as high as they possibly can.”

However, Jewell maintained: “When I hear people mention Wigan in the Champions League – I say ‘behave yourself’.”

Wigan were rarely troubled by the home side tonight, and Jewell reflected: “It was a professional performance – our ’keeper has not had a save to make.

“We got two goals at a good time and never really looked uncomfortable after that.”

For Hammers boss Alan Pardew, who was taking charge of his 600th league game, it was simply a case of a ‘bad day at the office’.

The home side never really got out of first gear tonight, and as such failed to give themselves a chance of preventing a third straight defeat at Upton Park.

“I certainly did not expect a performance like that in the first half,” said Pardew, who had seen his options depleted by injury.

“We set the team up to make sure we were strong and were looking for a clean sheet tonight, but in the first 20 minutes, we looked vulnerable and did not look like we were offering too much of an offensive threat either, so I changed it.

“But it did not get any better, and then it was scratching your head time really because the set of players we have had, they have been brilliant.

“For the first time, we have gifted a performance to the opposition.

“Wigan are a good team, but have not had to play to their maximum tonight. That was one of our goals at the start of the season, and unfortunately we have let that slip.

“It was kids for a quid tonight – and I think they paid too much to be honest.”

West Ham remain in the top 10 – a promising achievement for last season’s play-off winners at the halfway stage.

And Pardew added: “It is important not to dwell on it, we have to bury it and look at the Charlton game, to try to get us back to where we were.”


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