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Martinez reveals Latics ambition
Published : 03 May 2010 10:27:00
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez hopes to take the Latics "to the next level" after guiding them to Premier League safety this season. The Spaniard arrived at the DW Stadium last summer from Swansea and has had a mixed first campaign as manager, overseeing impressive home victories against Chelsea, Liverpool and most recently Arsenal, but also a 9-1 defeat at Tottenham and a battle against the drop. The club's top-flight status was finally preserved last weekend but Martinez has higher aims for next term and will seek to strengthen his squad over the coming months. "I am very proud of the players and the standards they have shown this season," Martinez said. "We have got a group now where we are all very excited about their potential. "On the other side, July and August are going to be key months for us to try and improve the squad, to help the players we have got here to be ready for the next campaign. "We need to kick on, make sure that we can reproduce the highlights of this season and be a little bit more consistent so that we can take Wigan to the next level." Club chairman Dave Whelan has welcomed Martinez's ambition, although the 73-year-old insists staying in the top flight has to be Wigan's primary goal again next season. "We are Wigan Athletic and when we set off at the start of the season all we are looking for is survival," Whelan said. "It is no use thinking we can get into Europe. We can have ambition and that's finishing in the top half of the league. "That's what Roberto is intent on doing in this coming season. But if we survive, it's success." Whelan praised Martinez's efforts over what he described as a "very unusual" season, which concludes with Monday's home match against Hull and a trip to Chelsea next Sunday. "I do not doubt Roberto in any way. He is one of the best young managers in Europe. He has learned a hell of a lot this season and he is a quick learner," Whelan said. "When you are moving up from the Championship it is really difficult. I think Roberto has seen a lot of things in the Premier League that have surprised him. "We have been brilliant and awful. It has been a very unusual season. But we got the right result - we stayed up." Whelan, who has seen the club spectacularly climb the pyramid from the backwaters of non-league football to the top flight, appears to have lost none of his enthusiasm despite a roller-coaster ride. He said: "When I came in and where we are now you cannot comprehend. Wigan were playing non-league football 25 years ago. I was a member of the board when they were in the Lancashire Combination. "To play Arsenal here and beat them was the finest moment of my life. When that winning goal went in I have never felt anything so good. Everything we have done for that one moment in time was worth it."