Martinez proud of youngsters

BY foxsports • May 16, 2011

With the Latics going into the contest 19th in the Premier League and their opponents bottom of the table, it was make or break time for both sides at the DW Stadium in what was their penultimate fixture of the season. Two Demba Ba headers meant the Hammers, who needed a victory to stand any chance of beating the drop, were firmly in control at half-time and Martinez's side were staring the prospect of relegation in the face. The Spaniard brought on forwards Conor Sammon and Victor Moses for the second period, though, and his team proceeded to turn the match around. Charles N'Zogbia scored direct from a free-kick just prior to the hour mark before Sammon levelled with his first goal for the club. N'Zogbia then struck the winner in the 94th minute, completing a 3-2 victory which sent West Ham down and kept Wigan's survival hopes alive by drawing them level on points with 18th-placed Blackpool and 17th-placed Birmingham ahead of next Sunday's final round of games. "Credit to the players," Martinez said. "We have such a young squad, and for them to be able to understand what was needed in the second half and not be affected by the importance of the result was something that gives you great maturity. "It is a feeling of pride for everyone - for the town, which was really behind us, and everyone at Wigan Athletic. "I feel that this is the strongest we have been in terms of the numbers in the squad. "We have many options and we had to use them. We had to take risks at 2-0 down, where we could have been relegated. "In that moment you need to make sure you use your squad well and it is not me making the changes, it is the players that come on with the right mental attitude and approach to affect the game. "If you look at the performances of Conor Sammon and Victor Moses, they really sparkled, but everyone had to be at their best." Sammon, who joined Wigan from Kilmarnock in January, was delighted to open his Latics account. "I have always got a fantastic reception off the fans from when I first signed," Sammon told "It was very pleasing to get my first goal and it repays the fans for some of the support they have given me since I joined. "Every striker misses chances and you come close at times, but you always remain focused on making the right runs and getting yourself into the right areas. "Ben Watson has picked me out with a brilliant ball and put me right in on goal in the box. I've decided to cut back on my right foot and I've slotted it into the corner. "When you get an opportunity to come on, you want to make an impact and affect the result and thankfully that is what has happened for me." As well as preparing for life in the npower Championship, West Ham must also now begin their search for a new manager, with the club confirming just over an hour after the final whistle yesterday that Avram Grant's time in charge had come to an end. Wigan, meanwhile, are focused on next weekend's trip to Stoke and doing everything they can to preserve their top-flight status. "We said before the West Ham game that our league was over - that our league season was 36 games, we had good lessons and ups and downs, but not enough points," Martinez said. "Now we had two cup finals and you have to win those two games."

share story