Wigan seemingly battle relegation year after year and somehow always find a way to remain in the Premier League.
They have been rewarded for hard working performances with a Wembley date with an FA Cup final.
On Saturday their performance was not necessarily the greatest in their history, but they still managed to dispatch Millwall with consummate ease to set up a final showdown with Manchester City.
There is no doubting that Wigan will definitely be heavy underdogs for the final, but one man who deserves a lot of recognition for their performances, not just for reaching the FA Cup final but staying in the Premier League each year, is Roberto Martinez.
You can see by the way they play they have been influenced by the Spaniard’s philosophy on playing the game ‘in the right way’ using passing football to break teams down.
In the first half the possession stats were 70% to 30% in Wigan Athletic’s favour, which clearly show the Spanish influence of keeping the ball and trying to break the opposition down with careful and precise passing.
Against Millwall you could see the signs of difference in class between the teams, particularly with the assisting passes for both goals.
They dominated the play from the first to the last whistle while remaining calm and composed even though for once they were the favourites to win the tie. This calmness is a characteristic that Martinez is able to pass onto his players and ensures his players are relaxed, so that they can play the football Martinez expects of them.
With limited resources the Spaniard has seemingly worked miracles in ensuring Wigan a first ever FA Cup final and guaranteed European football next season; an objective which Dave Whelan has always wanted to ensure his local club was able to achieve.
Obviously the main challenge for Martinez is to ensure Wigan remain in the Premier League for yet another season.
However, by gaining European football next year this could also help ensure that Martinez remains at Wigan as he seems to be a wanted man at the end of every season.
He was courted after by Aston Villa in the summer of 2011 and the following year by Liverpool. European football can ensure that Martinez can show what a talented manager he is across Europe, which could result in him being offered the challenge to manage larger teams abroad.
However, this is all for next season and Martinez and his players know they have to keep their heads down and work hard to ensure Premier League survival, for yet another season.
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