Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has insisted his team “never take anything for granted” when it comes to retaining their Premier League status at the end of the season following a 3-2 home defeat to Sunderland.
The Latics have maintained their top-flight position for eight successive seasons, but the former Swansea boss is adamant that relegation could be on the cards regardless if performances do not improve.
A first-half double from Steven Fletcher opened up a two-goal cushion for Sunderland, that Wigan could not overturn despite a late debut goal from Angelo Henriquez – and Martinez blamed the defeat on the loss of defender Ivan Ramis, who suffered a knee injury at Fulham last week.
"We never take anything for granted," he told reporters. "If we had done that we would never have had eight seasons at this level. Today we weren't good enough defensively for 30 minutes. We need to rectify that.
"Ivan Ramis' injury last week cost us today's points. That is something I need to correct."
Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill, meanwhile, has praised his side’s first-half performance and ability to overturn the early setback of David Vaughan’s own goal, highlighting the performance of top goalscorer Fletcher.
"Fletcher was fantastic," he boasted. "It was not just his goals but also his whole centre forward play. We took great heart from his performance.
"We've had to show a lot of fight and determination, Wigan threw a lot at us but and were never out of it.
"It was all hands to the pump at the end and I am delighted with the result."