Martinez disappointed at goals conceded but says team showed character to respond
Roberto Martinez gave his assessment of Latics’ 2-1 defeat to Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, disappointed at the manner his team conceded two quick-fire goals in the second-half, but encouraged by the reaction shown by his players to try and force a result in the final stages of the game.
Two goals from Pablo Hernandez and Michu in the space of two minutes looked to put the Swans out of sight, but for Emmerson Boyce’s first goal of the season which sparked a spirited fight-back from the visitors who also had an Arouna Kone goal disallowed for offside.
Martinez said: “We started the game very well and I always thought the first goal was going to be a crucial one.
“In many ways we frustrated them in the first-half and as expected it was a tight encounter, a real tactical battle.
“The first goal we conceded was a real blow but the biggest disappointment was to concede another so soon afterwards, losing concentration from a set-piece.
“From then onwards it was an uphill task and I’ve seen many times how well Swansea keep the ball once they have something to hold onto.
“However, what we saw was the opposite, I thought we showed great character, determination and took control in the final half hour to out-power the opposition.
“We scored two goals which the performance deserved, but unfortunately one was disallowed for offside.”
Martinez elaborated on the decision to rule out Kone’s header, believing the linesman got the call wrong and the goal should have stood, saying:
“It was a close call but it looks as though he was level having taken up a good position inside the area. There was no-one blocking the view of the linesman and the goal should have stood so that is disappointing.
“But those are the elements you cannot control in the game and I was happy with the reaction showed by the players after going 2-0 down.
“Overall the scoreline was a tough one to take because I believe the game was a lot closer than the final score suggests.”
Eight of the starting eleven had reported back in the week from international duties, and Martinez believes the miles covered by his players in recent weeks certainly contributed to the performance:
“It did have an impact but having said that you saw players out there who had travelled with their national teams dig deep towards the end, pushing themselves to try and get a result,” said Martinez.
“Maybe it affected us in not having that little bit of a spark going forwards which is the difference between finding the back of the net or missing the goal.
“So again the freshness was missing which we can’t control but the reaction from going behind is and I pleased we got that.”
Martinez believes there is slight pressure on his team to respond next weekend when West Ham United visit the DW Stadium and Latics go in search of their first home win of the campaign:
“There’s no two ways about it, we want to win football games so there is a need to pick up full points next weekend.
“Today we’ve shown that we have it in us to win football games which is a positive note, but we do need to start collecting points and adding to the tally.
“We don’t want to approach this period of the season not showing the need for collecting points and waiting for the final months again.
“In the last two games we’ve done enough to earn at least four points but have instead taken just one and that’s something we need to correct quickly.”