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Ex-Liverpool defender Kolo Toure proud of players after managerial debut

His Wigan side were held by Millwall amid a 1-1 draw at the Den.

KOLO TOURE was delighted with the attitude shown by his players in his first match as manager as Wigan held Millwall to a 1-1 draw at the Den.

Will Keane marked Toure’s opening match as Latics boss with a well-taken goal from the centre of the box after 33 minutes.

But it was not long before the home side equalised through a moment of supreme quality from Dutch star Zian Flemming.

It was the second half that particularly pleased Toure, with his side nullifying any threat from the Lions and marking his managerial debut with a draw.

He said: “It was a good game, we played against a really good side, it is always tough to come to Millwall and to try to get something out of the game.

“As we know, they have been winning most of their games here, and we knew it was going to be tough, but I am very proud of my players, we played how we wanted to play, we created chances and we scored.

“They came back but I think second half we were still very dangerous and maybe we could have scored a winner, but I think it is a good point and I am very proud of the players.

“It is incredible what they have done, we have only been working for eight days and the way they performed this afternoon was incredible.

“The plan that we put on, they stuck to that and they were confident on the ball, making great passes, breaking the line and stepping up on passes from the centre-backs – they all played very well.”

It was Keane’s eighth goal of the season and by no means was it his most memorable, with the ball bobbling into his feet after a deflection, but Toure is excited by what he can give to the side, although admits there can always be more.

“He has an unbelievable talent, for me, he is the player that can play in different positions and can still score goals,” added Toure.

“We are very, very excited by what he is going to give to the team definitely.

“We had the chances to finish the game, but you have to give credit to Millwall, they are a good team.

“Defensively, they are very aggressive and quite compact as well and we just could not find that last pass.

“We will keep working on it, though, and try and be much more clinical in the box.”

Gary Rowett is a far more experienced campaigner in the opposite dugout but even he was impressed by the incredible volley from Flemming.

However, he could not hide his frustrations at not being able to find a winner.

He said: “It was a lovely move and a lovely goal, but I think the frustrating thing was it was probably the main bit of quality in the game and I think if you are going to open a game up and win a game like that you need to show a bit more.

“I think, because he has hit it early and clean, it has not allowed the goalkeeper really to move, but that is the sort of quality that Zian has got and the rest of the players have got as well.

“I think that was the frustration with us, we know we are facing Wigan with a new manager.

“They are going to have a little bit of a lift, they are going to play at a level maybe higher than they have been playing in the previous games, but you have to accept that and you have to do more to win the game.

“We just lacked quality and, as I said to the players after, we got a point and that is really all we deserved, it is no disgrace but we now need to do a little bit more than that.”

Press Association
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