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Martinez hails Wigan heroics

16 May 2011 07:00:05

Martinez hails Wigan heroics

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez rated his side's dramatic 3-2 victory in Sunday's relegation clash with West Ham as superior to their famous triumph over Arsenal by the same scoreline last season.

Two Demba Ba headers meant the Hammers were 2-0 up at half-time, but Charles N'Zogbia's free kick pulled a goal back before substitute Conor Sammon levelled. N'Zogbia then slipped the winner past Robert Green in the 94th minute, sealing a result that confirmed rock-bottom West Ham's relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

"I feel like that was a better performance than the one against Arsenal," Martinez said. "You are going into the game knowing the importance of the three points and probably our first half reflected that."

He added: "We were a little bit anxious, we couldn't hold the ball or affect the game and West Ham started really well - they had prepared in a very good manner.

"At half-time it was a real mountain for us, but that is when the character came out. I don't think the second 45 minutes is an accident.

"It was a little bit harsh on West Ham because I thought they played in a great manner, but I felt we deserved it because of the chances we created and the quality we showed. The players were magnificent."

The win keeps Wigan's survival hopes alive, drawing them level on points with Blackpool in 18th and Birmingham in 17th ahead of next Sunday's final round of fixtures. But while they focus upon their last game of the season at Stoke, West Ham are facing up to the reality of npower Championship football - and searching for a new manager.

Just over an hour after the final whistle, a statement on the Hammers' website confirmed Avram Grant's time in charge of the east London outfit had come to an end.

"You can only speak about what you play against and West Ham started really strong, dominated the midfield area and scored in the first attack," Martinez said. "With regard to the manner in which they performed, even chasing for that goal at the end, everyone at West Ham can be pleased.

"Obviously it is a sad day because you don't want to get relegated and that is a difficult feeling. It is quite clear - West Ham are the first team to get relegated from the Premier League but they are not a bad side."


PA

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