Belfast Telegraph

Martinez eyes continued improvement

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is looking to keep his team firmly on an upward trend next season.

The Latics have been in superb form of late, losing only three of their last 14 Barclays Premier League matches and securing wins in six of the last eight, including triumphs over Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle. With their survival already guaranteed, they host already-relegated Wolves on Sunday.

"What we have done in the last 14 games, we need to do over the course of a season," said Martinez. "That is the next step. I do believe that if we do that, we will be able to step up and be a club that is not fighting to avoid relegation any more."

Martinez's men are now 15th having been rock-bottom at the end of January and the Spaniard has hopes of leaving relegation battles behind, making Wigan an outfit that is challenging for a top-half finish and even European football.

"What we want is to try to change our aim for a season - rather than being a team that wants to just stay up, we want to try to look for other things.

"That would be top 10 in the table and it could be the dream of getting into a European competition.

"That should be the next step and to do that, we have to replicate the level we have shown and the performances and results we have got in the last 14 games over the course of the 38 games of a season."

Martinez might have lofty ambitions for Wigan, but he insists nobody at the club is about to get carried away.

"We know who we are," Martinez said. "I think getting an eighth consecutive season at this level is an incredible achievement and we all know it is a fantastic football dream. We are not going to get carried away - all you need to do is get a spreadsheet of the budgets and the reality comes back!"

Former Wolves player David Jones is Wigan's only fitness concern ahead of Sunday's match. Otherwise the Latics manager has a full squad to select from for the visit of Wanderers, who have named Norwegian Stale Solbakken as their new boss but will still have Terry Connor in charge this weekend.


From Belfast Telegraph