Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Martinez hails Whelan relationship

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez prides himself on having a good relationship with chariman Dave Whelan

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has described his relationship with chairman Dave Whelan as the club's biggest strength ahead of the Barclays Premier League trip to his former side Swansea.

Martinez left the Swans for Wigan in June 2009 and his position has largely appeared secure over the last three years despite the Latics' frequent battles against relegation. But Whelan publicly criticised Martinez in March after a home defeat by Swansea, describing it as the worst performance for four or five years and questioning his manager's team selection.

The chairman's announcement that he would be having a meeting with his manager led to fevered speculation that the Spaniard was fighting for his job, but Martinez insists that was never the case. He said: "My relationship with the chairman never changes. Probably that's the biggest strength that we've got in the football club."

"My chairman is a football man, he knows what happens during a football season," added Martinez.

"Probably that moment went out of context because everyone expected a Monday meeting between the chairman and the manager, something we do every week, so for me it wasn't a change.

"Probably from the outside he gave a perception that it was completely different. We're here to win football games, to make sure the players enjoy their football and to progress as a club, and that will never change."

Wigan were hot favourites for relegation following that defeat but went on to win seven of their last 11 games to engineer another dramatic escape.

Although the stakes are not as high for this meeting, both clubs could do with a win after fading following good starts to the season, with neither registering a victory since August. It will be Martinez's third return to the Liberty Stadium since leaving three years ago, a decision for which he has not been forgiven by some Swansea fans, but the Spaniard believes the personal element is far superseded by the quest for points.

He said: "The game is so important for both clubs. We are both in the league that we want to be, these are fantastic times for both clubs.

"After a great start to the season, we both find ourselves in a situation where we need the points, we both need good performances. I don't think the individual links are important any more, it's just the importance of the game."

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