Roberto Martinez admitted his and his players’ disappointment at not taking three points after a dominating performance against Queens Park Rangers at the DW Stadium, but also revealed his pride at the character shown by his injury-hit team to secure an important point nonetheless.
Latics took the lead in the first-half before pulling back an equaliser after the break, and although they had chances to make their dominance count in the score-line, Martinez was still impressed with their display, saying:
“We’re disappointed with the two goals conceded; in any games if you gift two goals like that it’s going to be very difficult to take three points.
“But having said that I couldn’t be more proud of the efforts of the team and the manner in which we coped with QPR’s threat; limiting them to very little.
“The first chance they got they scored from, after a set-piece and a free header for Ryan Nelsen, and in the second-half it was a similar story with a rare break forward leading to Djibril Cisse scoring.
“At times teams seem to find it too easy to score against us and it’s an area we need to improve in, but you look then at the character shown by the players was quite impressive.
“We started the second-half by creating chances and opening up their defence on numerous occasions and I think if we had of taken the lead at that point it would be a very different result at the final whistle.
“The reaction to going 2-1 down highlights what we have in the dressing room and the determination of the players to succeed. We have a real fighting spirit right now and it doesn’t matter if we have seven players missing or not, these players are ready to react and give everything for Wigan Athletic, which is something we should all be proud of and keep encouraging.
“I don’t look at the table in December, but the truth is that we need to start taking responsibility in certain aspects to get three points when we deserve them.
“But when the see the attitude and quality of the players I’m confident that will come and it will be another exciting journey for the club.”
James McCarthy was at the heart of everything for Latics, scoring his first goals since February 2011 to cap off a commanding personal display in midfield, and Martinez believes there is more to come from the Republic of Ireland international:
“We’re getting used to his level of performances, which is a good sign. Against QPR he had a little more freedom and license to go forward and you could see that in his play.
“Whenever he had the ball he was looking for the forward pass, played with a technical ability of the very highest level and was a complete joy to watch – it was a lesson in how to play football.
“To then get on the score-sheet twice is real recognition of his performance and at 22 years of age the best is very much still to come.”
Latics were able to welcome back Shaun Maloney to action in the second-half as well as James McArthur playing the full 90 minutes for the first time in eight games.
The gaffer was delighted to have them both back on the pitch and hopes to bring more players back over the Christmas period which will help the team grow stronger mentally:
“Shaun has been very frustrated lately after picking up the injury against Reading because he started the season in great form.
“His professionalism has got him back earlier than expected and it was great to see his quality once again on the pitch which I felt was going to bring us three points towards the end.
“It was great to see he and James McArthur back out on the pitch and I’m sure we’ll be getting more bodies back next week aiming to start the New Year in a healthy position in terms of quantity.
“We need to develop a mentality whereby going into a game and performing well will lead to three points, not simply hoping the win will follow the display.
“Believe me that the dressing room is devastated not to have taken three points from today’s game, but in the same manner I look at the difficult challenge QPR brought to our DW Stadium, with nothing to lose given their situation which can be a real threat.
“It could have been a very dangerous game for us but we never panicked, left ourselves exposed and kept playing the way we wanted to play.”