Martinez hails 'incredible' win

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez paid a glowing tribute to his side after they stunned Manchester City to win the FA Cup.

Last Updated: 11/05/13 at 22:04 Post Comment

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez paid a glowing tribute to his side after they stunned Manchester City to win the FA Cup final at Wembley.

Substitute Ben Watson headed a last-gasp winner after City had had Pablo Zabaleta sent off to secure a 1-0 win.

Martinez told ITV: "It's an incredible moment. At half-time we were all really down as we thought we had played really well in the first half.

"There was a real feeling of maybe we had wasted our opportunity, but this group of players keep on fighting.

"I was thinking about extra-time and how to use the extra man advantage. It was incredible seeing the goal going in."

Asked what the victory meant to Wigan, Martinez said: "When you are a football club you dream of playing at Wembley, and today we saw the underdogs play with incredible bravery, incredible belief and they defied the odds again. That's the FA Cup."

Callum McManaman was man of the match for a super display as he ran Gael Clichy ragged down the right-hand side.

Asked about the forward, Martinez said: "Callum McManaman has been through a lot in the last few months. I always said he is one of the biggest diamonds in British football at his very young age. He is a man for the big occasions.

"He hasn't got many starts under his belt but he was typifying what Wigan Athletic is. I couldn't be prouder for him.

"He is not fussed about anything. He is not one of those who wants to wear the best shoes or drive the best cars. He comes in, give him a football and he is a happy man. That's the way he plays.

"The one-to-one situation was a real threat for us all afternoon. It was a very good performance.''

It was also an emotional afternoon for Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, who has overseen their rise to the top flight and broke his leg as a player in the 1960 FA Cup final.

"What an incredible story," Martinez said. "The chairman broke his leg in 1960 and today, finally, it's finished business for him."

The Latics still face a battle to stay in the Barclays Premier League in the last two games of the season, and Martinez said the win would give them a huge boost in their survival fight.

"We are going to get an incredible fight, incredible desire, to get the six points we've got left," the Spaniard said.

"But today is about today, today is about the FA Cup, today is about the victory and the trophy that we've won for Wigan Athletic. What an incredible story."

Wigan, three points adrift of safety in the relegation zone, play Arsenal on Tuesday at the Emirates Stadium before a final showdown next Sunday at home to Aston Villa.

Speaking later, Martinez said: "From a physical point of view I don't know how quickly we can recover from this. We are playing on Tuesday against Arsenal with a squad where we have six or seven players missing through injury.

"But we always face adversity and we don't moan about it. We'll get on with it. We will be brave and hopefully get the points we need to achieve our aim. It is a shame that the final couldn't be the final game of the season and we could have been enjoying and celebrating.

"Today wasn't an accident. That doesn't happen by mistake or because we were lucky. I believe we can get enough points to stay in the league which would be like winning the title. We will fight hard to get the Double.''

Martinez has been linked with a possible move to Everton in the summer, with David Moyes departing for Manchester United.

Understandably, he avoided any speculation on the subject.

"It doesn't change anything,'' Martinez said. "In the summer is the time when the chairmen and everyone make decisions but it is not a moment to talk about this.

"The most important game in the league is on Tuesday and after that we have the next most important game in the league That is where the focus goes.''

Whelan said he had dreamt his side's success.

"I thought we would get Man City in the final and win 1-0," he said on ITV. "The dream has come true. I'm repaid for 1960 when I broke my leg and we lost the match.

"We've now got to stay in the Premier League, we've done everything then. This is going to lift the lads so much."

Match-winner Watson, who come on in the 81st minute after replacing Jordi Gomez, reflected on an unforgettable day for both himself and everyone associated with the club.

Watson only returned to action last month after nearly five months out with a broken leg.

He said: "Unbelievable. I've got to say them boys today were fantastic from the first minute to the 95th.

"It's been a long six months for myself and it's been a dream. Coming on in an FA Cup final and scoring the winner."

The 27-year-old added: "The fans were unbelievable - 81,000 people in Wigan and we bring 30,000 here, credit to them. From the chairman, the manager, the staff, the players, we've worked hard."

Watson believes his side can now secure their Premier League status if they can perform like today in their final two games against Arsenal and Aston Villa.

He said: "We've got two massive games now to stay in the league and if we perform like that we'll be alright.

"We crack on again tomorrow."

Wigan midfielder James McCarthy, meanwhile, hailed the victory as a dream come true for him and described Martinez as a "tactical genius".

The Scottish-born Republic of Ireland international, who moved south from Hamilton in 2009, told ESPN: "It's an unbelievable achievement. I'm speechless to be honest. It's a dream come true, it's what you dream of as a kid."

He added: "I think the gaffer is a tactical genius. It's down to his tactics what we've done."

Scotland international Shaun Maloney said of their triumph: "Considering the size of the club it's incredible. For Ben to score the winner after the season he's had it's amazing for him.

On Martinez, he said: "Tactically he's as a good manager as we could have asked for."


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