Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has dedicated his side’s FA Cup quarter-final victory over Everton to the club’s chairman Dave Whelan.
Whelan – now 76 – sustained a broken leg playing for Blackburn Rovers during the 1960 FA Cup final defeat to Wolves at Wembley Stadium – a memory which he admitted still haunts him.
But, after Wigan sealed a place in the last four and a day out the national stadium with a 3-0 win at Goodison Park, Martinez hailed Whelan’s part in the journey.
“You can imagine that, for us as a club, to go to Wembley is a unique moment, a historic moment, and the chairman deserves that,” he told ITV.
“You could sense that everyone in the dressing room wanted to see our chairman at Wembley and in many ways that success is for him. What he has done over the years is incredible.”
The Spaniard went on to dismiss suggestions that Everton had simply played poorly on Saturday, insisting his side had forced themselves on their opponents.
“I think we deserve a little bit of credit. We stopped them from being dangerous, you could see that they had a team that has real understanding, real experience and the expectation was in the crowd,” he added.
“(That was) what we did really well, I thought we handled that. The players knew when to keep the ball, they knew when to go forward. We looked a real threat every time we got into the final third and I think we deserve a little bit of credit for stopping Everton from playing that flowing football.
“They love to make the pitch really wide and use the full-backs well and we stopped that rhythm and my players deserve the credit for that.
“I think the performance was outstanding from the keeper all the way through you saw incredible concentration levels.
“To come to Goodison Park and be able to score three goals and keep a clean sheet speaks volumes and it’s very easy to analyse with that scoreline.”
Martinez also claimed the Latics’ chances of staving off Premier League relegation will not be affected by their extended cup run.
“You need to worry about yourself. What we saw today was the players coming into the team have made the squad even bigger,” he said.
“I guarantee that this run in the cup is not going to affect what we can do in the league; if anything we’ve got players desperate to play in the league as well.
“I’m delighted from that point of view. In this league you’re relying on yourself, you can’t rely on anyone else and there 10 finals (to come).”