Roberto Martinez admitted he was disappointed his side couldn’t score a pivotal opening goal against Manchester City on Wednesday evening at the DW Stadium, but was pleased with the overall performance of his players against the reigning Barclays Premier League champions.
Mario Balotelli opened the scored with 20 minutes remaining in the game after several opportunities for Latics to take the lead in what had been up to that point a tight affair.
Martinez said: “I thought we were really strong and well organised, especially in the first-half not allowing Man City to find any rhythm.
“We then found ourselves in probably the best situations in the game to take the lead but couldn’t find that final ball to take advantage and when you’re playing well in those periods you need to score the first goal.
“Their first goal was a real setback and then moments later we conceded a goal which is an outstanding strike from outside the box, but in terms of the work ethic and the way in which we stopped the opposition for long periods I was very pleased.
“Sometimes when you perform well against these sides and end up on the losing side it can be too easy to accept the outcome, but the dressing room is very disappointed to have not taken a result and we need to learn now how to take advantage of those situations before the opposition does.”
Once again Martinez was hampered by injuries to his squad, with Ivan Ramis and Shaun Maloney forced out of the team that defeated Reading in the previous game. But the Gaffer spoke of his pleasure at how other members of the squad were able to come into the side and not disrupt its rhythm, saying:
“The players who have been out of the side have been working very hard and showing outstanding standards in training, and you could see that in how they fitted in during the game.
“Nobody looked like a stranger in the team and we were able to continue with our usual pattern of play which is credit to the work they put in during training which has allowed them to perform like this.
“Adrian has been with the club for a long time getting used to the speed of the Premier League, he reads the game very well and technically is extremely composed and he played an important role in the back three alongside Emmerson Boyce and Maynor Figueroa.
“The whole team showed magnificent concentration off the ball all evening, but on the ball you want to see the players enjoy themselves and be more attacking, and I just felt we were a little cagey in possession at times.
“The key point in the game was the first goal; we were unable to score it after creating great chances and Manchester City did at the other end which shows the small margins by which the game was decided between two teams of very different sizes.”
Thankfully, the whole team came through the match relatively injury-free, as Martinez explained:
“David Jones picked up a little knock on his calf but he’ll be fine for the game at Newcastle United as should the rest of the team.”