The mood in the Wigan Athletic FC camp was one of growing confidence after beating NK Maribor and two-goal Nick Powell, a Manchester United FC loanee, came in for special praise.
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The mood in the Wigan Athletic FC camp was one of growing confidence after the FA Cup holders beat NK Maribor 3-1 in north-west England. Ben Watson, scorer of Wigan's second goal, said the win gave Owen Coyle's side a strong platform in UEFA Europa League Group D – while for fellow midfielder James McArthur it reflected the team's improved form. The result also left the visitors still without a point in the section, though Maribor forwards Tavares and Jean Philippe Mendy remained positive about both the performance and the Slovenian champions' prospects.
Ben Watson, Wigan midfielder
It was a great win. It's key to win your home games and we've got off to a good start with four points from two games. We could have been home and dry with the chances we had in the first half – and even in the second. Then they got one back but we kept going and got the goal at the end. But I felt we controlled the game throughout and thoroughly deserved the victory. It's always nice to score and I've just found out it was on my 100th appearance for the club.
If you get through the group then you've got some big teams from the Champions League coming in, but we'll take it one game at a time and – if we get through – take it from there. Our main priority is the league but after that we'll see how far we can go in this competition. The two games against Rubin Kazan will be tough but if we can pick up points, we're in a good position.
James McArthur, Wigan midfielder
It was an excellent performance. They're a good side and passed the ball well second half, but I think we controlled the game from start to finish. It was our best performance of the season. We played really well and hopefully we can build on this. Nick Powell was excellent – he got two goals and could have had another couple. He's playing in an unfamiliar role up front but wherever he plays, he has lots of ability. He works really hard for the team.
It's exciting now we are starting to play with a bit of consistency, to play the way we know we can. It hasn't been a great start [to the domestic season] points wise but we're getting our consistency and the points are following.
Tavares, Maribor forward
I'm not disappointed because we fought and gave everything. But the result was not good for us – conceding two goals in the first half. After half-time we scored one ourselves and tried to get another, but finally they made it 3-1. Overall we did well. Our coach gave us some instructions and motivation at the interval, and in the second half we were more aggressive. We used the spaces better and changed to three strikers, which worked for us. Both teams were a bit tired but we played more and kept the ball more in their half. That was the difference.
I was very happy with my goal but it wasn't enough. I tried to score a second but the goalkeeper made a very good save. Now I have to train hard and in the next game try to score some more. This is my third time in the Europa League and we are growing every year.
Jean Philippe Mendy, Maribor forward
We were average in the first half but played well in the second and got the goal. We were then very close to scoring again in the last minute. The new coach is a good trainer and his appointment will help us because he's attack-minded. I think it'll go well. We are still playing for qualification because anything is possible in football. We'll fight until the last game, which is the return fixture against Wigan.
I had already played in England for Dinamo Bucharest against Tottenham – and scored in that game. It's always a nice experience playing here.