Martinez demands final push for safety

BY foxsports • April 23, 2010

Martinez and his squad face West Ham knowing a win guarantees Latics a sixth successive season in the top flight, achieving the aim asked of him by chairman Dave Whelan when he took charge last summer. Should they lose at Upton Park, Wigan could conceivably stay up if Hull are beaten at home to Sunderland tomorrow and Burnley fail to defeat Liverpool at Turf Moor on Sunday, but that is not the way Martinez wants to clinch survival. There is also the small matter of ensuring Sunday's stunning come-from-behind victory at home to Arsenal, that has put them in such an enviable position, is not wasted. Wigan's great failing under Martinez has been their inconsistency, witnessed by the fact they have yet to claim back-to-back victories since he took charge. The Spanish boss is now eager to rid himself of such a statistic, and with it secure another season of top-flight football when he can hopefully build for the future. "I've heard a lot of people say we are safe, but I don't believe that," said Martinez, whose side are seven points clear of the relegation zone with three games to play. "Mathematically we're not safe, so we need to make sure we achieve that first and foremost, and I feel the players are focused, more concentrated right now than ever this season. "We can allow ourselves to treat this game as a cup final because the reality is if we beat West Ham we've achieved our aim for this season, which is staying in the Premier League, and it doesn't come any bigger than that. "Getting a result there, knowing we can achieve that aim, is well worth the players giving everything they've got. "That also goes for the fact we haven't achieved back-to-back wins this season, and I'm looking for us to change that at West Ham. "It's important we don't follow up what was a fantastic win over Arsenal with a bad result against West Ham. "Our negative side has been our inconsistency. We have to get rid of that and deliver the same level of performance against West Ham as we did against Arsenal." Despite West Ham's own predicament and dire need as they are only three points above the drop zone, Martinez feels that will further galvanise his players. It will be a similar story at home to Hull the following week if they are still in with a shout of survival, and then at Chelsea on the final day if Carlo Ancelotti's side need the points for the title. "When you face teams who have something to play for, it makes them more focused, stronger, and in a way there is no margin for error," added Martinez. "We know in the next three games we'll be facing teams who need the points as much as we do, and I prefer it that way. "When you play teams who are relaxed, as we saw with Portsmouth (in a recent goalless draw), they can focus on other things - players playing for their futures, new contracts, and that makes the game completely different. "When there is a collective aim, that makes it a little bit more controllable. "So yes, over the three games it's going to be difficult, but we just need to make sure we get our three points - the quicker the better."