Martinez bemoans first-half display as Latics slip to Sunderland defeat
Roberto Martinez pointed to his side’s first-half performance against Sunderland on Saturday afternoon as the crucial factor in them not being able to come away with a positive result.
Latics went a goal ahead early on when David Vaughan poked home into his own net, but their bright start soon dwindled and the visitors pulled out of sight taking a 3-1 lead before the break.
Martinez said: “We started the game brightly, wanting to score early because we knew how good Sunderland can be defensively.
“But once we scored there was a combination of not keeping the ball well enough and not controlling the game as we know we can which went against us.
“That, together with the penalty decision going against us, seemed to be too much to accept and right up until half-time we didn’t seem to have the understanding needed to get back in the game.
“Sunderland had four attempts on target and scored three goals so we need to defend those situations much better and learn not to be beaten mentally by going losing a lead or going behind.
“So it was an unfortunate display in that period, but I thought we controlled the second-half completely and scored a good goal, unlucky not to score more in all honesty.
“But if you concede three goals in the manner we did it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to get a positive result from the game.”
The Gaffer explained the tactical changes made at half-time which helped Latics get back on top of the game and almost find a comeback, saying:
“We had to get back to what we are good at and not be affected by the scoreline which was the case after the break.
“We defended well, got back to the basics and forced Sunderland back before scoring the goal.
“It would then have been easy to concede on the counter attack but we didn’t let that happen and made sure that Ali (Al Habsi) was a mere spectator.
“It’s disappointing that we have to get into these situations to learn lessons and we’ll have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Roger Espinoza came on for the second-half to make his Premier League debut and impressed alongside fellow new signing Angelo Henriquez who scored his first goal for the club and sparked a grandstand finish that Latics were just unable to fulfil.
Martinez reflected on the impact made by his new arrivals in the second period, saying:
“I was very pleased with their roles; Roger had a massive impact when he came off the bench, getting involved in all the good things we produced going forwards.
“To see Angelo make his Premier League debut and score a goal too was great, and a glimpse of what he is capable of as a player.
“He’s a goalscorer with real instinct inside the area who will be a very important player for us this season.
“So they were both positives but you can’t come away from this game happy because of the manner in which we conceded three poor goals, and it’s a difficult result to take.
“We’ve been in this situation time after time so we need to draw on previous experiences and understand how to affect performances in a positive way.
“What we can’t do is allow ourselves to become dislodged in any way or go through the motions because if we do we’ll get hurt.”