Experience pays off for Latics

BY foxsports • February 6, 2011

The Latics went behind early on at a rain-soaked DW Stadium but battled back to lead 4-2 and held on to claim their first Barclays Premier League win in nine attempts despite an 81st-minute penalty from David Dunn making it 4-3. Twice in that poor run, against Fulham last month and West Brom on Tuesday, Wigan were in winning positions heading into the final moments of games only to concede equalisers, and Martinez believes that made his team stronger. He said: "Probably that's the most pleasing aspect. Time after time this season you've seen we can play well, we can open teams up quite easily, we can create chances. "But against Fulham we lost two points in the 85th minute, against West Brom similar, and we couldn't be mature enough to see results through. This was the opposite. "You couldn't find a more physical test. At the end they (Blackburn) played the conditions really well. They put as many bodies as they could in the last third and they were hoping for something. "The concentration levels, the physicality that we showed, the good intensity, it was extremely pleasing. "And the way we closed the game out, it was probably the good work the players have been doing trying to learn from the painful lessons we've had in the past that made the difference." The three points lifted Wigan out of the relegation zone, for 24 hours at least, and Martinez added: "Nobody will realise how important this win was for us. "We've got one point more than we had at this stage last season and the squad is the healthiest it's been this season. "This was a final within the competition for us. The three points were a must. For us to get out of the bottom three and get that psychological boost is the biggest step for us. "It's one of those performances that has been coming but we couldn't get there. That left everyone with frustration. I want to give this performance to the fans, they've suffered with us and they can enjoy a great feeling this weekend." Two of Wigan's goals came from midfielder James McCarthy, who returned to the side last month after three months out with an ankle injury, and Martinez was effusive in his praise for the 20-year-old. "We missed him too much," the Spaniard said. "He started the season really, really well and you quickly forget in football how good a player can be, or what an impact he can have on the squad. "He's come back three weeks ahead of schedule, which is an insight into the type of character that he is. And the performance just showed that he's not a 20-year-old player, his tactical awareness and his quality is of someone more mature than that. "Everyone is extremely proud of having James as a Wigan Athletic player." One worry for the Wigan boss is the state of the DW Stadium pitch, which cut up very badly towards the end of the match. Martinez added: "It wasn't a concern before kick-off, we had six hours of rain and the drainage worked really well, but in the last half an hour the ball wasn't rolling. The way we play, we need a proper pitch. "We had to re-lay the pitch last season, we've got the rugby coming on next month so it's becoming a bit of an issue now. But the chairman, I'm sure, will be in a good mood to find a solution."

share story