Roberto Martinez reserved special praise for the 250 Wigan Athletic fans who made the long journey south on Tuesday evening for Latics’ FA Cup third round replay against Bournemouth at Dean Court.
Mauro Boselli’s first-half strike ensured progression in the competition and a fourth round tie away to Macclesfield Town, but the gaffer was particularly proud of the away following who made the night extra special, saying:
“They were a real surprise, I didn’t expect to see so many make the long journey on a Tuesday night, but I’m really proud of them because they provided a great voice for the team and I’m sure they enjoyed the performance.
“They’ve seen that although we made many changes we’re still taking the cup competition seriously and are demanding high standards of everyone in the squad.
“I hope they’re proud of every player who wore the Latics shirt and can look forward to an exciting tie in the fourth round against Macclesfield Town.”
Latics started well and looked comfortable after Boselli bagged what proved to be the winning goal 18 minutes in, weathering a late rally from the Cherries, who hit the woodwork twice, and se out the game.
On the performance of the team, Martinez said:
“We had to be professional, facing a side who have a real winning momentum recently and I was pleased to see a strong team prepared to defend when we needed to and be brave on the ball in possession.
“An outstanding finish from Mauro Boselli was the difference and in the second-half, as we expected, Bournemouth came at us a lot more, but we looked a threat on the counter and were unfortunate not to get a second goal.
“Mauro gave the team so much on the night and had to come off towards the end because he couldn’t give anything more physically.
“I have to say that Bournemouth were always in the game and deserve huge credit because they performed in a great manner over the two games, but in the end I think we deserved to go through.
“The young players and those who needed to minutes showed that they’re ready to step up their competition in the squad which is very pleasing to see.
“If you’re going to be successful on more than one front then you need quality players competing for their place and that’s what we have.”
Angelo Henriquez made his first start for the club since joining on loan from Manchester United whilst Roger Espinoza took to the field for the first time in a Latics shirt. The gaffer was more than pleased with the contributions of his new signings, explaining:
“They looked comfortable and as though they already have a good understanding with each other and the rest of the team.
“Roger never put a foot wrong, controlled the midfield area with ease and combined his style in possession with an aggression off the ball to win it back, covering the ground well with a real tactical awareness.
“Angelo’s acceleration made him a threat throughout the game; his penetrating runs were outstanding and it was unfortunate he couldn’t find the back of the net but worked hard for the team.
“The pitch didn’t help either team but to see new players come in and perform in such a manner was a real plus.”
Finally, the gaffer told of how he was forced into a half-time substitution between the sticks, when Ali Al Habsi replaced Mike Pollitt who picked up an injury during the first 45 minutes:
“In the first ball of the game he played to Ronnie Stam he pulled his thigh muscle and held it until half-time but couldn’t carry on.
“We’re not sure how serious it is but we’ll asses it over the next week.”