Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Martinez: Systems are nothing

Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez has played down his tactical acumen ahead of Wigan's clash with Blackburn on Monday night.

A run of eight mid-season defeats left Athletic rooted to the bottom of the table and seemingly destined for relegation. But the Spanish manager has turned that situation on its head - adopting a three-at-the-back system that has overhauled Wigan's play and put them into some of their best-ever Premier League form.

As a result, winning at Blackburn will assure them of safety, while a point will be almost good enough but, rather than pat himself on the back, Martinez is preferring to pass the credit on to his players, and he said: "Systems don't win games, players do."

He added: "Systems are ways to have players on the pitch, but it is the players and their moment of form that allows you to win games."

Blackburn need to win to avoid the drop themselves - anything other than three points will see them down - but there is no suggestion from Martinez that he will be eliminating the risks and playing for a point.

"We can't do that, we're not that type of team," he said. "We're a team that needs to get on the ball and control games ourselves. We need to be brave in attack and defend with good intensity."

Wigan's recent revival has seen them pick up almost unbelievable wins over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle, while they were unfortunate to come away from Chelsea empty-handed. And, according to Martinez, tackling the challenge head on has been the key.

"Since the transfer window closed we have been very consistent," he added. "You could point to a couple of performances where we haven't been ourselves, but every other performance we have.

"We have played with bravery, been physically very strong and have enjoyed our football. That is a reflection of the hard work of the players on the training ground and that pleases me more than anything.

"The football club reacted to adversity."

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