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Martinez sees light at end of the tunnel

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez believes the fight for Premier League survival will go down to the last game of the season.

Wigan beat Stoke 2-0 at the DW Stadium thanks to goals from Antolin Alcaraz and Victor Moses – their first home victory since August – but Martinez still believes there is a long way to go for the teams at the bottom.

The Spaniard says his side’s experience in relegation scraps could be vital in their bid to beat the drop, however.

“The other results are going to be like this until the end of the season. We’ve been in this situation before we know that the last seven or eight games of the season the bottom five are going to pick up points,” he said.

“There’s going to be many twists and turns and you can only control your own fate we need to work on our points, to have as many points as we can when May 13 arrives and whatever happens elsewhere I truly expect it.

“The big thing about this league is that everyone will be fighting till the end if you look our last two fixtures are against Blackburn and Wolves. It’s very difficult not to see that it is going to go to the last game of the season.

“You don’t want to be in the position that we’re in that’s quite clear but now we’re in this situation we need to make sure we get out in the best possible way and that’s in the manner we did in the last two weeks.”

Martinez hailed his team’s defensive performance against the Potters and feels they put in one of their best efforts of the season, which he believes was the perfect follow-up to their victory over Liverpool last week.

“I felt defensively as a team we were outstanding we kept Stoke really quiet it was probably the easiest game Ali Al-Habsi has had all season,” he said.

“That’s credit to the players. Going forward we created chances and we looked lively, sometimes we missed some really good opportunities but that never effected us to keep going forward.

“It was a very complete performance and it magnifies how important the win at Anfield was because today we could have lost. It was a historic day against Liverpool but if you don’t win at home after that the points mean nothing. I’m really pleased for the players and really proud of them.”

Stoke boss Tony Pulis praised the opposition, believing they outplayed his team all over the pitch, but insisted he tried his best to grab a result by ending the game with three strikers on the pitch.

“I’m more upset about the way we played. I thought Wigan were the better team, they played better on the day,” he said.

“It’s very difficult to be critical of the team and the players because we’ve done so well lately. We’ve had a real tough run of games but Wigan were the better team and they deserved the three points.

“Ask any manager if they could put their finger on when they know that before a game the players are not going to perform as well as what they have done. I changed it round I put three forwards on because with Ricardo (Fulller), Cameron (Jerome) and (Peter) Crouch at least there would be a goal in them.

“Even though if we’re not playing well let’s see if we can get a goal out of one of those three. But even that didn’t work today, it’s just a poor day at the office.”

Sat 31 March, 2012
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