Wigan V Everton at The DW Stadium : Match Preview

04 February 2012 08:56
Martinez has survival in focus
Roberto Martinez feels Wigan's position may prove beneficial in the long run because their predicament is all too clear. A 3-1 defeat by Tottenham on Tuesday left the Latics three points adrift at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League table and five points off safety.

There is no doubt about their target for the last 15 games of the season and Martinez, who saw his side escape relegation on the final day of the last campaign, believes the single focus will help.

He said: "It's not where we are in the table now, it's where we're going to finish in May and what we do know is what we've been through in the last two seasons is not a position we want to be in.

"We all understand that we want to progress as a football club and get into a position where we can be an established Premier League team, but we're in a situation we have to get out of.

"We've got 15 opportunities to get as many points as we can and there's nothing else we can do. For me it's easier to be in this position rather than in another position in the table where you feel that you've achieved your aim and you haven't.

"We've got a really strong focus on the next game, for us Everton is a cup final in the middle of the season and we need to make sure we treat it that way."

Wigan have picked up three points from their last eight games, a run interrupted only by an FA Cup defeat at npower League Two Swindon, while Everton go into the match at the DW Stadium on a high following Tuesday's victory over leaders Manchester City. Martinez said:

"Winning a game against the league leaders is probably the best dose of confidence and belief that you can add to a group, so they are in a very good moment, they got a very good win against Fulham as well in the FA Cup, so they are on a very good run of results.

"But it doesn't matter what run of results Everton are on, you know you'll always find it difficult. They're always competitive, always really difficult to play against and it's going to be no different on Saturday. "But I do think probably the advantage we've got being in the position that we're in now is we don't have to worry too much about the opposition.

"Every game we need to be perfect, every game we need to be brave, arrogant and believe in ourselves and try to be as good as we can to get results."

The Latics will have key midfielder Mohamed Diame back after his return from the African Nations Cup while Hugo Rodallega, Franco Di Santo and David Jones are expected to be fully fit and Antolin Alcaraz (groin) could also be involved.

Everton manager David Moyes hopes the last few days have given his players and fans a lift which will carry them through to a successful finish to the season. Victory over Manchester City was accompanied by the signing of Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic for £5.5million and the return of midfielder Steven Pienaar, on loan, from Tottenham.

After a month of transfer speculation, discussion about the club's finances and indifferent results - including defeats to Bolton and Spurs and draws with Aston Villa and Blackburn - Moyes thinks this week has made a real difference.

"It is long time since I have been able to talk positively," said the Scot. "Nearly every question I've had has been of a negative nature about what is happening off the pitch or results.  

"But the players certainly gave the fans something to shout about in midweek and the performance against Manchester City was great - we've not had many days like that recently. "What a difference it makes if you win one which maybe you are not expected to and you play above your station and the players respond, it gives everyone a lift.

"Hopefully the last few days shows, with a little bit of cash, we can try to make something work and give the supporters something to be excited about. "It (signing players) definitely gives everyone a lift but if we hadn't brought anyone in and beaten Manchester City it would still have given everyone a lift.

"Obviously we don't know how Nikica will do, there is no manager in the country who can guarantee when he brings in a player he will work - no matter whether you pay £50million or £5million.

"I am hoping Steven and Nikica can give us that little bit and keep everyone on a high because we want to try to finish the season strongly and over the years we have tended to do that."

Wigan V Everton - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game live.

Source: PA