Roberto Martinez admitted that the 1-1 draw with Bournemouth in the FA Cup third round tie at the DW Stadium was a fair result after the efforts of both sides.
Latics made nine changes at the start of the day handing club debuts to Roman Golobart and, in the second-half, Angelo Henriquez, as well giving a number of players a rare opportunity in the first team, and Martinez was impressed with the contributions of his relatively inexperienced side, saying:
“As expected it was a tough game; Bournemouth played very well and it’s easy to see why they have now gone 17 games unbeaten in all competitions.
“They had real unity in their team, were full of energy and tried to play good football and that provided us with a good measure by which to test some of our younger players.
“We’ve spent a lot of money and invested much effort into providing a structure that will help our club’s development, which needs patience. But to see some of those products out on the pitch competing in the first team makes that effort worthwhile and they did well.
“When Bournemouth got the first goal it gave them the opportunity to sit back and try to hit us on the counter attack, but we did well I thought to take that threat out of their game and never allowed ourselves to get exposed at the back.
“We kept possession well, perhaps at times without hurting them enough but the pressure told in the second-half when we hit the crossbar twice and scored the equaliser from Jordi’s penalty.
“We had enough chances to win the game but overall I would pay big credit to Bournemouth in the manner that they played and maybe the replay is a fair outcome.
“Some of the youngsters today showed me that they are ready to have a bigger role in the first team and that was a big purpose in today’s game.
“On top of that we had Angelo Henriquez make his debut and in time I’m sure he’s someone who will give us something different going forward.
“The replay will give these players another opportunity at first team football and of course an opportunity to progress in the competition which we all want to do.
“We’re still at that stage whereby we are bringing players back from injury and by the time that game comes around they will have a chance to get much needed minutes on the pitch and help us in what will be a very difficult game.”
The home side were behind at the break following Eunan O’Kane’s strike, but drew level in the second-half when Jordi Gomez followed up a saved penalty effort to convert from close range.
The visitors themselves had a penalty appeal waved away by referee Robert Madley in the first period, but the Gaffer says the ref got both decisions right:
“I saw the two incidents live and then looked back on them afterwards and my impressions were the same.
“The first incident is very clear; the Bournemouth player tries to be clever and buy a penalty which the referee did well to see.
“At the other end Maynor is in a position where he is about to pull the trigger before having his shirt pulled which was a clear penalty.
“They’re not debatable decisions but sometimes you do rely on the referee seeing them but he did and I was very impressed with how he controlled the game.”
As well has handing opportunities to the squad’s younger members, Martinez also gave Mike Pollitt his first start since February 2011, becoming the club’s second oldest player in the process.
Martinez says the professionalism and performance of his 40-year-old goalkeeper sets the example for others to follow:
“He serves as an example to this football club; someone with very high standards, who works daily to keep himself fresh and keep competition high between Ali (Al Habsi) and himself.
“I thought his composure and distribution was good throughout the game and then in the last minute he was alert to prevent Bournemouth from scoring a winning goal.
“Overall it was a typically reliable performance from Mike and to have a player at his age providing that for the team proves how much of an asset he is for the club.”