Roberto Martinez praises 'special' Di Santo after 1-1 draw with Fulham

The Latics' boss was full of praise for the Argentine striker after his rasping effort took them out of the relegation zone, while Jol bemoaned Fulham's fragility

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has praised "special special" striker Franco Di Santo after the Argentine's rasping equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

The Latics started slowly after going down to Giorgos Karagounis' opener but came on with a flourish after the interval with Di Santo's strike leveling the affair.

It was the 23-year-old's first Premier League goal in three months, though Martinez feels that his striker's all-round game is worthy of recognition.

"It was special," said Martinez of the goal. "Strikers are always going to be judged by what they do in front of goal yet Franco deserves special mention because of his contribution to the team.

"It’s difficult to find someone with his generosity of contribution. The way he found the back of the net was a special, special strike.

"Franco can be that clinical finsher, he’s good on his right foot, left foot and in the air. He is a special, special striker and I’m glad he got reward for the effort he put in."

Martinez was equally forthcoming in his praise of both Mark Schwarzer and Manuel Figueroa.

Fulham goalkeeper Schwarzer produced a stunning fingertip save to tip Shaun Maloney's deflected effort on to the bar early in the second half, while Latics defender Figueroa came up with a breathtaking goal-line clearance to deny Bryan Ruiz moments before the game ended.

"We restricted Fulham to just two shots on target," said Martinez.

"One was the goal and one was the special clearance from Maynor Figueroa at the end. In between them we were the better side, defended well and carried a big threat.

"I thought Mark Schwarzer was the man of the match – he made the save of the day, maybe save of the season from Maloney.

"The way that Figueroa cleared that ball is as important as down the other end. The two boxes are where you reflect the scoreline."

Martinez's counterpart Martin Jol was understandably less enthralled with the way the 1-1 draw panned out.

The Dutchman was quick to rue his side's lack of ruthlessness in the final third and was disappointed with his side's inability to clinch what would have been a crucial second goal after going one up.

"We were 1-0 up and needed another goal. We couldn’t score it and we looked vulnerable," said Jol.

"We played with seven offensive players and it was a gamble – score two or three then it’s great.

"We played with a different midfield, that is not what you want. All these other clubs are settled and we have this problem in our balance.

"Last year Dempsey scored a lot of winners but this year 1-0 isn’t enough. It is always a problem if you are 1-0 up and can’t score a second."