Bruce rues Latics' poor defending

9:41pm Sunday 9th December 2007

By Marc Iles

STEVE Bruce pinpointed the exact moment his side's hopes went up in smoke at the Reebok Stadium.

A goal down after the break, Wigan piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser without ever managing to find a way past Jussi Jaaskelainen. In a flash, Kevin Davies ghosted in to turn home El-Hadji Diouf's free-kick in the 70th minute, and the Latics' chances were blown.

In typically honest fashion, the Birmingham City boss admitted that he faces an uphill task if his side continue to be so generous.

"You can't play in this league and make individual errors like we are," he said. "Just when we were getting back into the game in the second half, and needed to score, we have not picked up from a set piece and the game is all over.

"We had been in Bolton's half for 20 minutes and forced seven corners. All of a sudden, we are 3-1 down.

"We all make mistakes, but the ones we are making at the moment are costing us badly."

Bruce took over from Chris Hutchings just two weeks ago but has been quickly brought up to speed as to Wigan's defensive problems. A first-minute error handed Manchester City's Geovanni a goal at the JJB last week, and Paul Scharner saved Wanderers the trouble by putting through his own net just 150 seconds into yesterday's clash at the Reebok.

Add to that Wigan's statue-like defending for Davies' first league goal of the season, and Bruce was left in no doubt about the size of the task at hand at his new club.

"The reason I'm sitting here is because we have only taken one point from our last 10 games," he said.

"It's an alarming statistic and if we are going to stay in this league we have to change that very quickly.

"I knew it was going to be a big challenge, but we have to start helping ourselves."

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