Roberto Martinez was quick to credit the performance of Macclesfield Town after Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round tie at Moss Rose, which saw Latics reach the fifth round of the competition for only the second time in the club’s history.
Jordi Gomez’s penalty in the sixth minute proved decisive on the Spaniard’s 100th appearance for Wigan Athletic, but Martinez spoke of how the Silkmen made life difficult for his side for the rest of the tie, saying:
“We knew that Macclesfield were on a good run in the cup because of their strong home record, so we expected a tough game. Steve King’s team deserve huge credit, because what they have achieved in this year’s competition is nothing short of impressive.
“You could see that they were a brave team with a lot of threat in their play and from that point of view we’re very happy to have kept a clean sheet in the process of progressing in the competition.”
Martinez revealed how crucial the opening goal was in the tie, and that his team’s effectiveness at both ends of the pitch guided them through a tough encounter:
“We put a lot of emphasis on scoring the first goal in the game because we knew it was going to be pivotal.
“A second goal would have given us total control of the game but Macclesfield were very confident from the start, knew what they were doing at all times and made that difficult for us.
“Overall, I thought we deserved the result for the chances we created going forwards and our strength in the opposite penalty box.
“The injuries to Fraser and Nouha aren’t too serious and more down to the conditions than their personal fitness, but so as not to risk any further injury we decided it was best to bring them off.”
Not since 1987 have Wigan Athletic reached this stage of the competition, and whilst Martinez hopes his team can continue to place their name in the draw for future rounds, he also hopes success in the cup can have a positive impact on league form, saying:
“What is important is that as a football club were are equipped to deal with three competitions within one season.
“It’s not about using 12-15 players, it’s about using our full squad and allowing the levels of competitiveness to grow with each week, and progression in the FA Cup will help to bring that.
“We want to go as far as we can in the competition and who knows where that can take us, but for now it’s helping to bring a winning feeling around the club and that is a real positive feeling to have.”
Spanish goalkeeper Joel Robles kept a clean sheet on his debut for the club after arriving from Atletico Madrid on loan for the remainder of the season, and Martinez was impressed by the 22-year-old’s performance:
“This was a massive test for him, it couldn’t have been more difficult with the atmosphere that surrounded the game and what was at stake.
“He has been working very well in training since arriving, but in this match situation his communication was clear and his distribution was accurate.
“Overall, his composure between the sticks showed how good a goalkeeper he is.”
Finally, the gaffer praised the army of Latics fans who made the trip to Moss Rose despite treacherous conditions in Wigan, and the ‘special’ atmosphere they created:
“I thought both sets of fans created a great atmosphere and our supporters were magnificent in making the game a special event.
“To see them all in full voice was nice and I hope they can go home proud of an acute performance full of concentration and excited to be in the next round of the cup.”