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Roberto Martinez coy over future as Wigan go down
Updated published : 15 May 2013 00:16:51Rss feed
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez refused to confirm his future lies with the FA Cup winners after his side's 4-1 defeat at Arsenal confirmed their relegation from the Premier League.
Martinez's team will be back in the Championship for the first time in eight years next season, but whether their highly-rated boss will be with them remains to be seen.
Wigan have become the first club to win the FA Cup and be relegated in the same season, but Martinez's stock is still sky-high thanks to their epic upset against Manchester City at Wembley on Saturday.
The Spaniard is one of the favourites to take over at Everton following David Moyes' impending move to Manchester United.
And the prospect of life in the second tier may persuade Martinez that now is the time to move on after he rejected approaches from Aston Villa and Liverpool over the last two years.
But for now he is playing his cards close to his chest.
"If I am honest with you it is so fresh that we have been relegated and I dont think it is the time (to talk about the future," he said.
"Now is not the time for individuals. When you walk into the dressing room after this match it is heartbreaking.
"In the summer, as always happens, there will be assessments and whatever happens will happen."
It was understandable that Martinez was unwilling to focus on his own situation at such a delicate time for his club.
Just three days previously he had secured the first major trophy in Wigan's 81-year history.
But that incredible Wembley triumph had left his players running on fumes and they collapsed in disastrous fashion in the second half at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.
Shaun Maloney's superb free-kick in first half stoppage-time had given Wigan hope after Lukas Podolski's early opener.
"I know from the outside you could see relegation was possible but I never thought for a second it would happen," Martinez said.
"I was confident this team could win the last two games, so it is difficult to describe the feelings. It comes as a shock.
"I don't think you get many managers saying they are proud of their players when they get relegated.
"But we don't deserve to be in the bottom three. You will never see a better group of players than these in the way they play and represent the club.
"The FA Cup is an achievement we will never lose as a club. It's just a real shame it happens in the same season as relegation."
While Wigan face a gruelling slog to return to the Premier League, Arsenal are within touching distance of qualifying for the Champions League for a 16th consecutive season.
An eighth successive season without silverware meant the pressure was on Arsene Wenger's team to at least finish in the top four and they will achieve that aim with a win at Newcastle on Sunday.
Wenger is confident Arsenal, one point clear of fifth placed Tottenham, will finish the job after keeping their composure with so much at stake against Wigan.
"It is all open, it depends on our result. Even third place is not out of sight if we win the game," Wenger said.
"I'm confident because we have experience and we played for a long time under massive pressure this season. We always found the solutions to the problems we faced."
The only dark cloud for Wenger on an uplifting night was an injury to Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta that makes him a doubt for Sunday's crunch clash.
"Arteta has a calf injury. It would be a big blow if he doesn't play, so I don't rule him out at the moment," Wenger said.
"Maybe we will have to push (Jack) Wilshere in if he doesn't play."
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