Wigan chairman Whelan: Staying in the Premier League more important than FA Cup success

The Latics chief has prioritized staying in the top flight ahead of their FA Cup semifinal against Millwall on Saturday and believes the competition has declined in popularity.
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has conceded he would rather see his side retain its Premier League status than reach the FA Cup final.

The Latics currently sit 18th in the Premier League and are in danger of dropping down to the League Championship. Next up for Roberto Martinez’s side is a trip to Wembley to face Millwall for a place in the FA Cup final against either Manchester City or Chelsea, but Whelan has revealed his main aim is staying in the top flight and not capturing the silverware.

"Staying up is more important than winning the semifinal," Whelan told the Evening Standard. "No question about that. I have promised the players a holiday in Barbados not for winning the FA Cup but for staying up."

Whelan, who is set to lead out Wigan at Wembley on Saturday, asserted that the FA Cup is declining in its significance and that the financial incentive of staying in the Premier League is the chief reason for wanting to avoid the drop.

"You wouldn't imagine a change like that could happen. When I was growing up and playing, winning the FA Cup was something absolutely unbelievable," Whelan said. "It [the decline] has happened. You get so much money out of the Premier League, it's just phenomenal. And what these clubs are going to get next season is unbelievable. It makes this season's relegation battle all the more desperate."

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