Roberto Martinez paid tribute to the travelling Wigan Athletic support at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, disappointed he and the team couldn’t repay their faith with a memorable result.
“The fans were phenomenal and it was a real shame we couldn’t repay their support,” said the Spaniard. “We all felt empty at the end of the game because we wanted to give them a day to be really proud of their club.
“Their voice helped us in the first half when we had a massive role in the game and we need to learn how to build from that inspiration in the future.
“They were the reason we started and performed so well in the first half and it’s a shame we couldn’t give them what they deserved today.”
Reflecting on the match, Martinez outlined the game plan his players did so well to execute in the early stages of the encounter but was unhappy at the manner in which the home side pushed their way to victory, saying:
“We wanted to get ourselves in front which is crucial when you come to places like this. We get ourselves into good positions going forwards and created the chances that we had to take.
“But at the other end we conceded goals too cheaply and it affected us too much which is something we need to learn from.
“We’re very disappointed at the manner in which we conceded the goals because throughout the first half we defended very well, went forward well and created good chances, disrupting Manchester United’s tempo.
“The second half was disappointing though; one goal comes from a short corner that we should have dealt better with and another is when a full-back goes through the defence too easily, which shows our minds were more focused on scoring than defending.
“Overall though I’m pleased with the players’ attitude and their approach which had a big say on the game for long spells.”
Martinez went on to point out some poor refereeing decisions that made the afternoon a difficult one for his team including a penalty decision that should never have been and a red card that he feels should have been brandished to Danny Welbeck:
“We want to come to places like this and get results like did at other big venues last season, but you know it’s going to be a tough ask when decisions start to go against you as early as the fourth minute (Manchester United penalty after Welbeck went down inside the area).
“Welbeck should also have received a straight red card for his challenge on Franco (Di Santo) at the end of the game, and you need mentally strong referees to make these decisions regardless of their surroundings and the teams playing, but unfortunately I thought the game was too big for the referee.
“So it felt as though it was going to be one of those days that the decisions wouldn’t go our way, but looking back I’m very happy with the first half performance and we know the aspects of our game that we need to improve.
“There are good characters in the dressing room ready for the challenges of the Premier League and they showed that in the first half, so they’ll have no trouble shaking this from their system.
“To go eye-to-eye with Manchester United you need maturity and we had that, arguably you could say we were the better side throughout the first 45 minutes which shows how far we’ve come.”