As the final whistle sounded at the JJB Stadium on Saturday, it took some time for the air to clear. "Who needs Mourinho?" the home fans chorused. "We've got Paul Jewell-io." They have indeed. And for 90 minutes on Saturday their team were a mirror image of their industrious, bright spark of a manager, the proud son of a Liverpudlian engineer and shop-floor activist.
Charlton simply looked like they had downed tools for the afternoon. The cheers from the locals gave way to jeers from the visiting supporters. "You don't know what you're doing?" they chanted. It was not entirely clear whether the message was directed at the players sheepishly acknowledging their support or the manager who was already back in the dressing-room, presumably hunting for a drawing board.
When it came to the basics of communication, let alone application, Alan Curbishley's side were a mirror image of the film character his brother, Bill, helped to develop in his role as manager of The Who. Then again, the mute Tommy was a bit of a wizard when it came to playing pinball, unlike Charlton's hapless defence.
Curbishley was not laughing when he described them as "comical". It was unamusing enough for the Charlton manager when his captain, Luke Young, allowed Lee McCulloch to roam free and unleash the drive that cannoned off the crossbar and teed up the first of Henri Camara's three goals. It was even more so when Herman Hreidarsson and Dean Kiely stood staring at one another as Camara poked a foot in to score his second. And it was worse still when Kiely, Young and Chris Perry slipped, flapped and fumbled to present Camara with his hat-trick.
"I'll accept any criticism the fans want to send my way," Curbishley said. "I pick the team but some of those players have got to take some responsibility, and they didn't today when it came to defending. It's not just the back four and the keeper, it's the whole team.
"Some of them, with their performances today, have said to me, 'Get me out of here'. Some of them won't get near the team again unless they get their acts together. I ain't going to tolerate what's been served up in recent weeks."
It is just as well that Charlton already have 22 points in the bag. On the evidence of this, their sixth defeat in seven games, they might need every one of them come May. As for Wigan, after their run of losses to five of the Premiership big boys, they look set for upward mobility again, although they will have to reckon without their hat-trick hero from Senegal when the African Nations Cup starts in Egypt next month.
"When Henri's on form, he's as good as anyone," Jewell said of a player with whom he has had his problems of communication. "He drives you up the wall sometimes," the Wigan manager confessed. "He doesn't speak much English but he seems to understand it when I say, 'We've got tomorrow off'."
Goals: Camara (9) 1-0; Camara (51) 2-0; Camara (64) 3-0.
Wigan Athletic (4-4-2): Pollitt; Chimbonda, De Zeeuw, Jackson, Baines; Teale (Taylor, 83), Kavanagh, Bullard, McCulloch; Roberts, Camara (Johansson, 87). Substitutes not used: Walsh (gk), Francis, Mahon.
Charlton Athletic (4-5-1): Kiely; Young, Perry, Hreidarsson, Powell; Thomas (Bartlett, h-t), Kishishev (Hughes, 83), Murphy, Smertin, Ambrose (Spector, 69); Bartlett. Substitutes not used: Myhre (gk), Rommedahl.
Referee: M Atkinson (West Yorkshire).
Booed: Charlton Spector.
Man of the match: Bullard.
Attendance: 17,074.Reuse content