It could, and should, have been more for Wigan but they saw a perfectly good Victor Moses header ruled out by the assistant referee for a foul by Gary Caldwell on David De Gea in the first half. That didn’t stop Wigan though and Shaun Maloney curled in an excellent shot from the edge of the area in the 50th minute to give the Latics their first ever victory over United.
||Hugo Rodallega is 12/1 to score the first goal when Wigan meet Arsenal on Monday night with Paddy Power.
It was a battling performance from the whole Wigan side, and it was that effort after the disappointment at Stamford Bridge that particularly pleased Martinez.
“It was historic for us and I hope that all the fans enjoy the moment,” he told reporters.
“I’m really pleased, you can imagine the meaning of this result for our football club.
“It’s the first time that we’ve taken a point from Manchester United in our club’s history so you can imagine what it means to the fans, what it means to everyone, and probably more importantly is the manner of the result.
“I don’t think it was an accident we got that performance, in many aspects we were really strong and I just think the players will get a lot of credit for this performance which I feel that they deserve because in the last few weeks we’ve been performing in this sort of level and probably we haven’t been able to get the results.”
Wigan have now only lost once in 10 matches and Martinez admitted he was delighted their upturn in form was starting to pay dividends in the league standings. He also paid credit to the attitude shown by his side to lift themselves off the bottom of the table and into a strong position in the relegation dogfight.
“It’s fair to say this level of performance began in February, we’ve been showing this level.
“When you are bottom and you get opportunities in front of goal you have to take them, we’ve wasted many many points.
“Today I loved the arrogance of the players, we defended really well but more than anything we were patient, we played Manchester United eye to eye and to do that is a fantastic credit to the football club."
Moses’ goal was unlucky to be disallowed in the first half, Caldwell adjudged to have impeded United keeper David De Gea but replays suggested no contact was made between the defender and the Spaniard. That decision angered Martinez but Maloney’s winning goal helped take that frustration away for the Latics boss.
“My concern is how the linesman can rule that out,” he added.
“There is contact but it’s how you interpret that.
“I promised that I wasn’t going to speak about footballing decisions.
“I think the performance deserves all the talking points, maybe we were lucky with one call and we were harshly done in another call, and that’s what you expect in football.”
The crucial victory is Wigan’s third at home this season and lifts them out of the bottom three for the first time since December 10. They are now two points clear of Bolton and three of Blackburn with a better goal difference than both of their local rivals, although Martinez admitted their survival was far from assured.
“I wouldn’t like to see this as job done,” he stressed.
“If I’m honest with you when we were bottom or second bottom I always knew we have to be looking at the last fixtures of the season.
“We play Blackburn and Wolves in the last two games of the season so it would be very foolish for us to think we can get a boost out of where we are in the table.
“It’s great to see the points tally, the current form table is the one I’m looking at but we all know that what’s important is the amount of points we’ve got on May 13th and that’s what we have to concentrate on.”