Belfast Telegraph

Martinez maintains survival focus

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has no concerns about keeping his players' feet on the ground over their dramatic resurgence.

Latics have gone from being widely written off in the Barclays Premier League relegation fight to looking a decent bet to survive after a series of remarkable results in the past month, including beating Liverpool, Stoke, Manchester United and Arsenal.

They are now five points clear of a relegation zone they have spent most of the season in but, with four games still to go, Martinez insisted nobody is getting ahead of themselves: "We know we haven't got enough points. We have got 12 points to fight for and we are going to have the same approach."

The Spaniard added: "We don't look at the table. We never looked at the table when we were in a position where it was a little bit threatening, and we don't look at the table now.

"We are going to go into every game with a real feeling that it is a cup final and that is the way we have been playing for a long time. What we have learned over the years is just to concentrate on ourselves and our performances.

"When things are positive on the outside we don't get carried away and when things are negative on the outside we don't let them affect us. That is a real strength of ours and that is the only thing I am focusing on."

Chairman Dave Whelan publicly criticised Martinez after a defeat by Swansea in March - which left Wigan bottom - and speculation over the manager's future followed.

But Whelan kept faith and Martinez has turned the situation around, earning plaudits for his bold switch to a 3-4-3 formation.

Martinez, however, has played down the impact of the system on his team's performances, saying: "We have been working a lot. This group has been together a long time now and you get to know the strengths and the developing of partnerships is important on the football pitch.

"Slowly you can find out what helps certain players, but it is about how the individuals perform rather than the systems. Nobody loses games on a tactics board. It is what happens on a football pitch and that is down to the players."


From Belfast Telegraph