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Coyle praise for players and fans
Wigan boss Owen Coyle praised the efforts both of his players and Latics fans after the club's first-ever European match ended in a 0-0 draw with Zulte Waregem in Bruges.
Coyle's men nearly took an early lead in the Europa League Group D contest at a rain-sodden Jan Breydel Stadium, with James McArthur clipping the post with a curling third-minute shot.
But they survived several scares thereafter, with James McClean heading against his own bar, Scott Carson doing well to save an Ibrahima Conte shot and Chris McCann making a last-ditch block to keep out Karel D'Haene's late strike.
They were roared on by around 2,500 Wigan fans who had made the trip, and following the final whistle, Coyle said: "We knew that at different periods we were going to have to stand up and defend well.
"I said before the game that Zulte Waregem have some very good attacking players, and nothing has altered my opinion.
"We knew that and obviously they were the home team and trying to push on late in the game.
"Having said that, as much as we had to defend well, if we had taken care a little bit more on the counter-attack we could have scored a couple of goals ourselves.
"From start to finish it was an outstanding debut in European football for everyone associated with the football club.
"The players performed out of their skins and defended well when they had to.
"And to have 2,500 fans travel over here in the torrential rain... They sang their hearts out and gave the players a lot to fight for.
"Equally, the players are sending them home with a smile on their face tonight because it is certainly a well-earned point. I am delighted overall."
For the contest against West Flanders-based Zulte, who had on-loan Chelsea midfielder Thorgan Hazard - the younger brother of Blues star Eden Hazard - in their team, Coyle made seven changes to his first XI from that which had started Saturday's Sky Bet Championship loss at Leicester.
Striker Marc-Antoine Fortune was dropped to the bench and midfielder Nick Powell, on his first Latics start following his transfer deadline day loan move from Manchester United, led the line initially.
The likes of debutant Ryan Shotton, another deadline day loan recruit, Callum McManaman and McClean came into the team, and Coyle - who has signed a host of players since being appointed Wigan boss over the summer - stressed he felt his side had not been weakened by the adjustments.
Coyle said: "We have got three games in just a few days (Wigan host Ipswich in the Championship on Sunday).
"This is a fantastic competition and we have built a squad where we believe that we can make changes that are like for like and not detrimental to the team.
"I believe we had as strong a team out tonight as we did at Leicester and we made seven changes.
"So come Sunday against Ipswich, we will make a number of changes again because that is the squad we are building.
"I think we have to give balance and understand that we could be scheduled to play around 60 games this season, and I have to utilise that squad as well as I can.
"We were missing Shaun Maloney tonight (who was rested) and Grant Holt (who has a knee injury), and I left Thomas Rogne, Leon Barnett and Jean Beausejour out completely, who are all top players.
"But the ones who came - every one of them stood up as a man and performed as I would want a Wigan Athletic team to do."
Giving his assessment of the match, Zulte coach Francky Dury said: "I have a very good feeling after this game.
"The first 15 minutes were difficult, but after that we were more in the game.
"It is a European game, so you have to be careful about when you change from defensive play to attacking, and in the end I was very satisfied with the draw."