Benitez backs Martinez in relegation battle

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has backed Wigan counterpart Roberto Martinez's approach to the Latics' relegation battle.

The Reds head to the DW Stadium on Monday night looking for the victory which will lift them back into the coveted fourth place in the Barclays Premier League, but in contrast Wigan are mired in a struggle at the foot of the table.

"Martinez is doing a good job. They try to play football but they have strong players too so we have to respect them," he said. "They are a little bit inconsistent. They did well against Chelsea (winning at home) and after that they lost against Tottenham (9-1) in the way they did."

After the recent debate about over-physical styles - in which Benitez criticised Blackburn and Arsene Wenger attacked Stoke - the Liverpool manager thinks his compatriot has struck the right balance.

He added: "They are more or less a mix of styles. They have some physical, strong players but they also like to play with the ball on the floor.

"In football you have to win and playing nice football is not always possible. But being too physical is not always possible so to find the balance is the key.

"And they have changed (relaid) the pitch and we don't know how it will be, there are a lot of things we have to consider."

Benitez feels the number of injuries sustained by players in the Premier League is an indicator of how physical the game has become, but said it was for administrators to decide where to draw the line.

"The Premier League is always physical and they will want to keep going in this way," he added. "It depends on the referees in the end. We have to analyse this carefully because it's true we have too many serious injuries.

"I am a little bit worried about this, but there are people at the top who have to decide and to analyse what is best for the game."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Premier League
Wigan Athletic

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