Martinez won’t compromise style

Roberto Martinez would prefer to be criticised for sticking to

his principles rather than adopting a safety-first approach.

After picking up four points from their previous two games,

Latics found Manchester United too good at Old Trafford on

Saturday.

Although they held out for 50 minutes before Paul Scholes marked

his 700th United appearance by prodding the hosts in front, Wigan

had seemed to offer their opponents too much room.

And with goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi having a rare off-day, it was

not a surprise when the floodgates eventually opened.

The damage might have been restricted had Wigan tightened up –

but Martinez will not do anything which limits his players’

capacity to express themselves.

“It would have been too easy to be very defensive minded, not

have a proper go and lose 1-0 with a damage-limitation

performance,” he said.

“My team will never play like that and we will learn a lot.”

The additional handicap Wigan had to try to overcome was the

huge amount of travelling many of his players had to do during the

international break.

And their performance for those first 50 minutes offers Martinez

hope that last year’s catastrophe can be avoided.

For 12 months ago, after a bright start, Wigan returned from the

September internationals and promptly lost eight successive Premier

League matches, a run that dumped them into the relegation zone –

from which they did not emerge until the thrilling final weeks of

the entire campaign.

“I am not going to lie,” said Martinez. “We have really

struggled after international breaks.

“This week some of them didn’t come back until Friday. Some had

a 10-hour flight.

“It is not an ideal way to prepare for any game. But last year

was a completely different squad.

“We are still a work in progress but we have good, healthy

competition for places, and I know we can improve.”