Belfast Telegraph

Martinez: Drop threat motivates us

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez will use his side's tag as relegation favourites as extra motivation in the final seven matches of the season.

The Latics are bottom of the Barclays Premier League, albeit only two points from safety, and in a position many expected them to be before the season kicked off.

Martinez remains confident of the club's survival and will employ a kind of siege mentality in the last two months of the campaign, saying: "They always pick on the small club and they always expect you to go down and it is great motivation for us."

He added: "It's something we can't control from the outside, we've always been the small club who everyone believes will go down.

"It's great motivation for us and we continue to concentrate on what we can do on the pitch to prove people wrong over the final seven games.

"Against Tottenham (a goalless draw on Saturday) we saw a fantastic display, particularly from a defensive point of view stopping them play their game and then creating the better chances going forward.

"That will give the players a lot of belief and if we can continue enjoying our football, playing to those standards I'm sure we'll upset the odds.

"In many ways it's a shame the season doesn't start now because the team are starting to see the rewards from all their hard work, have a great understanding on the pitch and the level of the performances have improved because of that.

"Now it's vital we get the points we need from this season because this squad is ready to achieve great things in the future.

"We wanted to achieve this standard a lot earlier and it's a shame that injuries and the increased competition in the league this season have made that development difficult. But we're still just one win from jumping out of the relegation zone and the team are ready for the challenge."

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