Scharner: FA Cup is no distraction

Paul Scharner believes Wigan's FA Cup semi-final can help, not hinder their battle against relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Last Updated: 10/04/13 at 17:43 Post Comment

Paul Scharner: Insists Wigan are completely focused on survival

Paul Scharner: Insists Wigan are completely focused on survival

Paul Scharner believes the "island" of the FA Cup semi-final can help Wigan in their battle against relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

The Latics have taken seven points from their three league games since beating Everton in the quarter-finals but remain in the bottom three ahead of Saturday's trip to Wembley to face Millwall.

Chairman Dave Whelan said this week survival must take precedence over reaching the final, and Scharner agrees, but he does not think the latter will compromise the chances of the former.

The 33-year-old said: "Of course (survival is the priority) because it's the future for Wigan and it brings the money to run the business.

"But I don't see a problem to be in the semis and fight against relegation because it's a little island outside of the relegation fight to enjoy another football match.

"I think every single player should enjoy their time there because it's not very often you're playing at Wembley with Wigan in an FA Cup semi-final.

"It's a different pressure. We have the relegation pressure, which is very hard to handle to be honest because you have to get the points to stay up and secure the future. This is different because it's one match.

"Wigan has a lot of experience now in the relegation fight. It does bring also pressure on you because everybody's expecting Wigan to survive again. What we need to focus on in the last seven games is get nine points, that's it."

Fans' favourite Scharner spent four-and-a-half years with Wigan before leaving for West Brom in 2010 and then Hamburg, but returned to the DW Stadium in January on loan until the end of the season.

He said: "The cup was in my mind when I signed the contract on January 31 because Wigan were already in the quarter-finals. So I did think about it because I never played at Wembley.

"The FA Cup is one of the biggest occasions in world football so everybody knows Wembley. It will be a very nice experience for me."

When Scharner joined the club for the first time, the Latics were on their way to the 2006 League Cup final, where they lost 4-0 to Manchester United at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

The Austrian said: "My memories are I was very disappointed when we lost 4-0 against an outstanding Manchester United side but I scored on my debut in the first leg of the semis against Arsenal and it's one of my best memories at Wigan."

Scharner's fellow defender Emmerson Boyce is confident Wigan will not take their eye off the ball when it comes to the league and cited the experience of Birmingham, who won the League Cup in 2011 but were relegated.

He said: "You just have to look at Birmingham a couple of years ago. I don't know whether they took their minds off the Premier League, but they got relegated.

"We need to stay in the Premier League, that's the be all and end all. We know how football can change so quickly. We can go into the semi-final on track to have a great finish to the season or it could be a big disappointment."

Wigan will also have to deal with the pressure of being big favourites to reach the final - against Chelsea or Manchester City - given they are meeting a Championship club.

Boyce knows it is a great opportunity but is confident his side will take nothing for granted.

"We're not going to underestimate Millwall," he said. "They'll go into the semi-final thinking they've got a great chance of beating us so we've got to go there and put in a professional performance and it's going to be a hard game no matter what.

"It's up to us to take the game to them and get the result that we need. For the first time probably all the pressure's on Wigan."


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