WHELAN: ROBERTO MARTINEZ CAN LEAVE

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan will not stand in Roberto Martinez's way this summer.

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Roberto Martinez: Praised by his chairma

Roberto Martinez: Praised by his chairma

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan will not stand in Roberto Martinez's way if the manager is offered a bigger job this summer.

Saturday's stunning 4-0 win over Newcastle has Wigan on course to pull off another great escape from relegation trouble, and Whelan believes recent performances will have big clubs from around Europe eyeing up his Spanish boss.

And while he is not keen to see the 38-year-old leave, Whelan said he would accept Martinez's departure when it comes.

"He's doing a magnificent job," Whelan told Radio Five Live's Sportsweek. "I've always said Roberto will go to one of the top clubs in Europe and when that time comes he will leave Wigan with my blessing.

"He's just a brilliant manager and he will get one of the top jobs in Europe.

"I don't want to lose Roberto but it is inevitable he will climb the ladder."

At one stage this season, Wigan lost eight matches in a row, and seemed near certainties for the drop.

But Saturday's win put them three points clear of the drop zone going into their final two matches against fellow strugglers Blackburn and already-relegated Wolves.

Whelan insisted that even during the toughest times this season, he never had any doubts that Martinez was the right man to save them, and that the fans were on board too.

"(Managers) need support too," he said. "He got support from the chairman and he got support from the fans too. We've not had one fan crying for his dismissal and every fan in Wigan has been behind Roberto.

"Hopefully now we can stay in the Premier League for another season."

For now, Martinez remains entirely focused on Wigan's bid for survival and he believes his side's history of relegation scrapes could prove crucial heading into their last two games against Blackburn and Wolves.

Martinez said: "The experience we have had in the last few years probably helps. The players are very mature in terms of what they have been through, and that is a huge thing when you know what is in front of you.

"Blackburn is going to be a phenomenal occasion and we need points against Wolves because 37 is not going to be enough. These results are great but if we don't achieve our aim they will mean nothing."

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew paid tribute to a "brilliant" Wigan performance after seeing his own side's Champions League hopes hit by a whirlwind start in which the hosts grabbed a 2-0 lead inside the first 15 minutes.

Victor Moses had already brought a save out of Tim Krul before he headed a 12th-minute opener from an Emmerson Boyce cross, and two minutes later he swept home after Fabricio Coloccini blundered over a Jean Beausejour cross.

It was an extraordinary start by the hosts and it just got better in the 36th minute when Franco Di Santo sent the excellent Shaun Maloney clear down the left and he cut inside to drill the third past Krul.

Wigan rounded off a scarcely believable half with a superb 25-yard strike from Di Santo in injury time, leaving Newcastle resigned to a defeat which will severely hit their hopes of a top-four finish.

Pardew said: "This has been a big setback, but my team always reacts well to setbacks. We failed as a team, not as individuals, and it's important we go to Chelsea on Wednesday with an away game mentality.

"Sometimes when you've won six on the trot you come away from home and think, 'we'll win here today' - even if you guard against complacency. That will put a shock into the players, and I expect a reaction."

Pardew was heartened by his side's fighting spirit in the second half, with Papiss Cisse looking sharp as he hit the woodwork twice - striking the bar just past the hour mark then heading against the post 10 minutes later.

"I haven't got any worries," added Pardew.

"I know the intensity of our team will be there on Wednesday night and it is going to be a tough game for Chelsea bearing in mind they have got a cup final on Saturday."

RELEGATION RUN-IN

Aston Villa - Pld 36 Pts 37 GD -14
May 6 - Tottenham H
May 13 - Norwich A

Wigan - Pld 36 Pts 37 GD -22
May 7 - Blackburn A
May 13 - Wolves H

QPR - Pld 36 Pts 34 GD -23
May 6 - Stoke H
May 13 - Manchester City A

Bolton - Pld 35 Pts 34 GD -28
May 2 - Tottenham H
May 6 - West Brom H
May 13 - Stoke A

Blackburn - Pld 36 Pts 31 GD -28
May 7 - Wigan H
May 13 - Chelsea A

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