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Sending off may have changed the game muses Spaniard

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez believed Wayne Rooney was "very, very fortunate" to stay on the pitch after he appeared to elbow James McCarthy during Manchester United's 4-0 win at the DW Stadium.

The incident occured in the seventh minute and saw referee Mark Clattenburg blow for a free-kick as Rooney caught the 20-year-old, however the referee did not reach into his back pocket for a card.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Martinez believed the England striker - who later set up Javier Hernandez's second and grabbed a goal of his own - should have been given his marching orders as the "moment he [the official] saw it, it was clearly a red card."

He said: "He [McCarthy] was caught and the referee saw exactly the same thing. Wayne Rooney, I thought, was very, very fortunate in that incident because sometimes that happens in a game and the referee doesn't see it and it goes unpunished.

"The moment he [Clattenburg] saw it, it was clearly a red card.

"Those are big moments in a game. Going down to 10-men, I don't think it guarantees you to win a game, but I think it would have been a completely different proposition for them."

"I saw him [Clattenburg] at half-time and he felt it wasn't a red card, he [just] clipped him. But, if you seen the replay, it's clearly an elbow and it's a decision where I felt if my player had done that, he'd have been very lucky to stay on the pitch.

"I don't want to say that [that because the incident involved Rooney he got away with it]. I think Mark Clattenburg has been a very good referee this season and I don't want to think that way."

Despite the dominant scoreline, the Latics started the game brightly and doubled United's corner count before they were ripped apart on the counter-attack. Martinez bemoaned the lack of a cutting edge from his side that allowed the visitors to recover from a shaky opening.

"I don't think the 4-0 [scoreline] reflects the performance of the two teams. When you are playing against a side like Manchester United, with the experience and quality they have got, when you are on top and create good chances you have to take them," the 37-year-old said.

"And probably today, that was the biggest part.

"The big calls in the game [also] never went in our favour. Against a team like Manchester United, you get really punished."

The result saw Wigan lose more ground in the race for survival after Wolverhampton Wanderers climbed out of the relegation zone after a 4-0 victory against Blackpool. However, the Spaniard still believes that Wigan's top flight fate is in their own hands and pointed to the next 10 games as "unique opportunities" to drag themselves to safety.

Martinez stated: "The way the competition goes this season, you're not going to expect any favours from anyone. I think the results are showing that, week in, week out.

"It's quite clear the points tally for this season is going to be higher to stay in the Premier League. That's what we are going to be focusing [on] and working towards it.

"We're catching up at the moment. I don't feel we have got the points that our performances probably deserved until now, but there is only us to blame.

"I just feel that the next 10 games are unique opportunities to get them points and make sure we can be successful until the end of the season."

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