Roberto Martinez believes he has something special at Wigan and is already eyeing up a top 10 finish in the Barclays Premier League next season.
Despite the dust having barely settled from Athletic's last-day escape from relegation by winning at Stoke on Sunday, the Spanish manager has already turned his attentions to a busy summer in the transfer market with a view to continuing what he believes has been an upward trend since he joined the club two years ago.
While Wigan needed Hugo Rodallega's second half goal to confirm their survival at the Britannia Stadium, Martinez points to a record low number of defeats (14) in their time as a Premier League club as evidence that they are still moving in the right direction. "I feel there's something special in the dressing room and we need to make sure we maintain that," he said.
And, knowing he does not have to sell star man Rodallega, Charles N'Zogbia and Mohamed Diame, he is confident that with some quality additions, his side can finish in the top half the next time around.
He added: "The priority now is the playing staff. We will speak to our out-of-contract players and then apart from that, it's making sure we improve the squad. This window is going to be very important in terms of getting the right balance and wanting to improve what we've got."
Having captured Martinez, a former Wigan midfielder, from Swansea in 2009, chairman Dave Whelan has been praised for standing by his manager despite two seasons at the wrong end of the table.
Whelan responded earlier this week by calling Martinez the best manager he has worked with, and predicted that he will eventually be snapped up by a leading club.
"In football, you can lose three games and the perception of you changes, but it's always nice to get those kind words from the chairman," Martinez said of Whelan's comments.
"It's been a pleasure and a privilege to manage Wigan over the last two seasons and I feel we need to make sure we move on now. We need to start next season in the right manner and if we get a top 10 finish it will be unbelievable.
"The chairman has always been the main person. He's allowed me to work and has always been there to allow my work to continue."
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