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VITAL POINT – MARTINEZ

PUBLISHED

21:33 2nd February 2013

by Paul Chialton

Gaffer highlights character of players to rescue point against Southampton

Roberto Martinez reflected on Saturday afternoon’s 2-2 draw with Southampton at the DW Stadium, stressing the importance of a vital point collected in the team’s bid for survival.


Latics had taken the lead midway through the first-half, but were pegged back by and fell behind to a resilient Southampton side, which Martinez paid tribute to; before Shaun Maloney’s late equaliser rescued a result for the home team.


Speaking after the final whistle, the gaffer said:


“It was a very tough game; we scored the first goal which is very pleasing, but it seems Southampton picked up where they left off against Everton and Manchester United.


“The way they pressed stopped us from having our normal possession or having any real joy in the second-half, but the goals we conceded were nonetheless disappointing.


“Our performance against Stoke on Tuesday night was outstanding to earn the same reward, so today’s game shows that sometimes we have to do things differently to get points, and make no mistake it’s an incredibly important one that we’ve collected.”


Martinez admitted that the importance of the game may have caused some anxiety when Latics took the lead, but was pleased with the character shown by his players to secure a result, saying:


“Whenever you’re playing at home and take the lead there is a sense of having something to lose, and you could see today we struggled to get on the ball after Gary’s opener with the crowd becoming anxious, which is something I’ve not seen before here.


“You want to win so much that you allow the away team to gain control of the game and feel on top of things.


“When they took the lead it would have been easy to let the game go, but I was so pleased to see us push forward late on to take a point from a difficult situation.”


Just 48 hours after making his return to the club, Paul Scharner was named in the starting line-up to make his 146th league appearance for the club, and the gaffer was impressed with the Austrian’s performance:


“To see Paul playing with real maturity and a focus to help the team was great and he was magnificent throughout the game, understanding the way we wanted to play.


“Over the weeks he’ll get stronger and fitter, but nevertheless it was a very impressive second debut for the club.”


Finally, the Spaniard summed up the day and the aim for the coming weeks by explaining:


“Now is the time to be happy with what we’ve collected on the day. The top and bottom of it is that we have increased our points tally, and that was the main aim.


“I expect the teams around us to pick up a lot of points between now and the end of the season, so unless we continue to take results then we can’t achieve our aim.”

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