Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

All-round performance pleases Martinez

Roberto Martinez's Wigan claimed a much-needed victory over Reading

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez believes his side are better equipped than last season to pull off another relegation escape.

The Latics have become the Premier League's Houdini act under Martinez and they took a significant stride towards safety following a 3-0 win at fellow strugglers Reading. It was a first league win of 2013 for Wigan and, more importantly, lifted them above Reading and out of the drop zone for the first time this year.

"We are disappointed with the points tally that we have got. We need to get more points on a consistent basis," Martinez said. "We came into a game which is a massive, massive relegation battle I thought we were composed and able to enjoy our football."

Arouna Kone's quickfire double at the end of the first half gave them an advantage they quickly made decisive after the break when Maynor Figueroa combined with Franco Di Santo for the defender to net a rare goal.

Reading's afternoon quickly deteriorated and when Pavel Pogrebnyak saw red on 55 minutes the visitors were already banking a win to inspire belief they are again on course to beat the drop.

Martinez added: "We limited Reading to no shots on goal in the game and that is a real compliment. The quality of our attacking play was also a real difference.

"We've been showing that this season but we've never had that clinical way of defending and keeping a clean sheet. That's why I am so pleased with the performance."

Wigan defied the odds to stay up last season when they won five of their last six games - including successes over Arsenal and Manchester United. The scale of those heroics are unlikely to be required again this time around, and in any case Martinez believes his team are better prepared to tackle a relegation scrap.

"I think we've played much better than last season," he said. "I think we've been very consistent in terms of performances. We've improved in every department from being able to keep clean sheets and defend well.

"In football you are as good as your results and unfortunately we haven't been able to represent our performances with results. Probably that's why I am so pleased. We defended really well and we stopped them at source."

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