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Martinez confident of Premier League survival

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez chose to view his team’s 1-1 draw against Everton as a point gained despite conceding late in the match.

Hosts Wigan led through Charles N’Zogbia’s 21st-minute goal in the English Premier League match at the DW Stadium.

They survived one penalty when Ali Al-Habsi saved from Mikel Arteta, but the Oman international goalkeeper was unable to prevent former Wigan man Leighton Baines equalising with another spot-kick in the 78th minute of Saturday’s clash.

“It is disappointing because we couldn’t get the three points but we knew it was going to be a very difficult game,” Martinez said.

“Everton showed the experience they have got and what a competitive side they are.”

“I see it as another point. I don’t think we could afford to lose today.”

Wigan are now third from bottom, level on points with 17th-placed Blackpool but inside the relegation zone due to their inferior goal difference.

“Unfortunately (it) is going to take the fight to the last week of the season but I think that is what we expected,” Martinez said.

“It is a real fight, a real challenge. We have got three games to go and I feel we are capable of getting points against anyone.”

“We see it as a phenomenal challenge. Everyone expected Wigan to go down and we are really excited to try to defy the odds.”

Martinez also defended Hugo Rodallega after the Colombian striker conceded the penalty that saw Everton draw level.

“Hugo is devastated, as you can imagine,” Martinez said.

“Those are incidents that happen. Prior to that he had made three great actions at corners, defending with great aggression.”

“Hugo has won so many points for us and will carry on winning points for us. That is the nature of the game and we will support him.”

Everton assistant manager Steve Round credited his players with staging a comeback against a team battling for survival.

“It was a struggle,” Round said.

“We were playing against a team that are fighting for their lives.”

“Unfortunately we missed a couple of chances and missed a penalty and we thought it was going to be one of those days.”

“But credit to the lads, they showed great resolve and resilience, as Everton do.”

Sat 30 April, 2011
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