Martinez praises Latics fans as club creates history to reach FA Cup Final
Roberto Martinez heaped praise on Wigan Athletic fans after their team made history by reaching the FA Cup Final for the first time.
An army of Wiganers made the journey south to Wembley for the semi-final and made their voice heard from start to finish in cheering their team to a comfortable victory over Millwall.
After the match, Martinez couldn’t praise their efforts enough, saying:
“They were magnificent. I know there’ll always be some kind of negative comment from the outside, but what they don’t realise is the quality our fans bring in their numbers.
“These people are the heart and soul of our football club and today they can be very proud of their Wigan Athletic.
“I would tell them to enjoy this feeling and get ready for the final weeks of the season and, of course, the FA Cup Final.”
As for his emotions in the immediate aftermath of such an incredible day, the Spaniard didn’t know what to think, explaining:
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, it’s an incredible feeling one that everyone associated with the club will share.
“We had a tough task on the pitch because to go into any game as favourites is a challenge in itself to overcome – it’s even harder at Wembley.
“But I thought the players showed a great mentality, enjoyed their football and played with real flair, but on the other hand defended with concentration and dealt with the dead-ball situations really well.”
The Gaffer made one change to his team at the start of the day, bringing Ali Al Habsi back into the team in place of Joel Robles, and he explained his decision:
“We’ve got two of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League in my eyes and they both bring something different to the team.
“Ali is back to best now after some time out of the squad and when you have so many games to play in a short space of time you need to share those demands.
“What is important is that when you are on the pitch you’re ready to perform for the club, and Ali was certainly that today."
Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman were the heroes of the day scoring the all-important goals either side of the break and whilst Martinez credited their contribution he was proud of the team’s performance as a whole, saying:
“Scoring goals from open play is always difficult, and faced with a task like today’s that challenge was made all the more difficult.
“Shaun and Callum will get all the headlines, and rightly so because it’s not every day you score at Wembley, but the overall team performance was quite outstanding and the behaviour of everyone representing the club was exceptional.”