Wigan must dream big, says Latics boss Martinez
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has told his players they should dare to dream about the possibility of an FA Cup final victory over Manchester City.
Talk of the Latics' first appearance in one of the showpiece days in the English football calendar has inevitably included discussion about a relegation fight they now look certain to lose. Yet it is an undeniable truth that a win will have an effect on Wigan that will last far longer than what league they end up playing in next season.
"You have to dream and the bigger the dream, the bigger the achievement," Martinez said.
"Winning the FA Cup would be there forever. Just arriving in the final is a photographic moment in the history of our football club. Winning a major trophy would take our club to a different level. We are all well aware what this could mean. There are a billion people watching this game. It is one of those key moments that help develop awareness.
"When we signed Roger Espinoza he was already a Wigan fan, which makes you aware of our exposure around the world is bigger than many people think. But tomorrow is as good as it gets and we need to take advantage."
Martinez's own cup final memory is watching Ricky Villa slalom his way through the Manchester City defence to help win the trophy for Tottenham in 1981. Little did he think at the time that 14 years later, he would be playing professionally in England, albeit at a level much lower than the one Wigan find themselves in now.
"When I came here in 1995 there were around 1,500 people watching us in what is now League Two," he said. "We will be taking 21,000 to Wembley, which is incredible. It is a great example of how football can develop in a town and what you can achieve with it. It is difficult to describe."
City have their own reason to win - not least the pressure manager Roberto Mancini would come under if they did not. They are also overwhelming favourites and have won both Premier League meetings between the sides this season.
Martinez's problem is that his options are so limited. Maynor Figueroa, Jean Beausejour, Ivan Ramis and Ronnie Stam are definitely out and Antolin Alcaraz seems certain to join them on the sidelines.
"The defensive problems are something we need to accept and find solutions to," the Spaniard added. "I have never seen anything like the injury situation we have. But we have to cope with it. We won't use it as an excuse. We need to find the answers."
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