The Spanish boss hailed the impact of the former Crystal Palace midfielder, whose late header secured a historic FA Cup win over Manchester City on Saturday eveningWigan manager Roberto Martinez hailed the special achievement of winning the FA Cup for the first time in the club's history - and immediately targeted “the double” of staying in the Premier League.
The Latics won their first FA Cup on Saturday with a 1-0 victory over Manchester City thanks to a late header from substitute Ben Watson at Wembley, but remains in danger of relegation from the Premier League.
Wigan is three points off Premier League safety with two games to play ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Arsenal, and Martinez hopes the cup glory can inspire his side to a great escape in the final week of the campaign.
“I believe we can get enough points to stay in the league which for us is like winning the title. We will fight hard to win the double," Martinez said. “Nobody will take away this trophy, the silverware and the proud moment the fans had today. Winning the FA Cup is something special in the English game and I’m very aware of that.
“It’s an incredible achievement, we are in Europe next season and we also need to be in the Barclays Premier League. To move to the next level we need to stay in the Premier League and hopefully we will get the points we need to achieve our aim.”
Goalscorer Watson has only just returned to action after suffering a broken leg against Liverpool in November that was expected to rule him out for the rest of the season, but made a huge impact off the bench.
“I think the whole journey of Wigan with the FA Cup has been with little stories like that,” Martinez added. “Ben Watson broke his leg and the medical department told us he’d be out for the rest of the season.
“He worked really hard, came back, came back at Wembley and scored the winner. I’ve seen movies with worse scripts than that.
“It wasn’t an accident. The proudest thing is we didn’t come in a damage limitation way. You look at the game and to produce that level of performance and be the better side over the course of the game was very pleasing.”