On Thursday I had another opportunity, along with Jay T (Cockney Latic), Migs (Mudhuts) and Farri (Wiganer.net) to spend some time in the company of Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez down at the clubs training facilitates at Christopher Park in the players canteen.
Following on from the last time we all met once again the atmosphere was very cordial, Roberto appeared very happy to be meeting the four of us and the discussion that followed was open, direct and once again very positive.
Once again Roberto re-emphasised his footballing philosophy and he said that he wouldn`t force play, when asked about the fans feeling frustrated at the inconsistency, especially with recent results against Liverpool followed by the Bolton game, then the Portsmouth game and then the Arsenal he was asked could he understand the fans frustration, the boss turned to the Portsmouth performance to say it was one of the most pleasing apart from the result.
“If you take the Portsmouth game the performance was very pleasing, we had over 20 goal attempts, if you score a goal that result ends up 5-0 but we didn`t and ended up getting frustrated but overall I was pleased with how we played”
“The Bolton game was poor but we had come off the back of the Liverpool result where the players had given everything and that is the problem, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool do it every week but they are big clubs with big squads but for us after that game the players mentally were drained”
“When we played Arsenal if that had been six months ago and we went 2-0 down I guarantee you that we would have ended up losing with 5 or 6 but we didn`t, the players kept working on what we have been telling them in training and when we got the goal for 2-1 you could see the lift”
“This is the transition that I have been talking about and we are getting there”
Roberto was questioned about some of the performances throughout the season and in particular the lack of effort that some fans say the players have shown, this seemed to hurt the gaffer a little and he retorted that there maybe a lack of knowledge but definitely no lack of will, though he did comment on one particular player and said he would never play for the club again, no names though.
“Lack of will? Sometimes lack of understanding or lack of knowledge on the pitch, I would take that but the players always give everything on the pitch”
“Probably we have had one player that I wasn`t happy with his will and he hasn`t played since for Wigan Athletic and he`ll never play again, where we are now and where we were 10 months ago is two worlds apart”
Roberto was questioned about and touched on many other matters, there will be more on this to follow
To be continued?
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