Roberto Martinez praised the efforts of his players in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon, but revealed that Maynor Figueroa is likely to miss the rest of the season after injuring his groin muscle.
Latics came from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 with minutes remaining on the clock, when an Emmerson Boyce own goal salvaged a point for the visitors just as it looked as though Martinez’s men would hold on for three valuable points.
But despite dented enthusiasm at the final whistle, Martinez told Latics Player how his players, and the fans, should reflect on the kind of performance which will help them in their bid for Premier League survival, saying:
“We can look back on the game with pride, having been magnificent in everything that we did.
“Of course, we’re in a position whereby we need to win points and today I felt we did everything to deserve a win and to take all three.
“Their first goal gave them an opportunity to take the initiative and go forwards, but they had no more shots on goal from open play thereafter, and that’s down to the tactical awareness of our players which was incredible.
“However, when you’re at one end of the table playing against a team chasing Champions League qualification it sometimes seems as though the breaks go against you; in the 88th minute they were awarded a free-kick which was clearly an obstruction on Jean Beausejour – Kyle Walker is clearly pulling back his shirt and it should have been our free-kick.
“They are the little moments that are costing us games at the moment, but in terms of our performance, against a Spurs team that needed a win at this point in the season, I thought we were clearly the better side throughout.
“That gives me pride and I couldn’t have been happier with the players’ efforts today.
“The manner at which Spurs scored their late goal has left some low feelings, but come Sunday and Monday I think we’ll all be able to reflect on a fantastic performance.
“We are in a results business, so we need to win games but we’ll take lessons from this game and aim to be more arrogant in certain aspects of our performance in the future.
“Our performances over the last three games have shown consistency, and it’s a matter of time now before we get the results, if we maintain these levels.
“Today we’ve stopped one of the best players in the world from enjoying any kind of freedom in his game, but suffered from the set-piece situation.
“We look forward now to the final five games of the season, some phenomenal fixtures that lie ahead and aim to perform in the manner that we did today.
“The bad news is that I think Maynor will be out for the rest of the season with a pulled groin muscle.
“We’ve had no luck whatsoever in that position this season; Ivan Ramis, Antolin Alcaraz, Ben Watson and Adrian Lopez have all suffered injuries at some point, and today Gary Caldwell had to miss out with a hip knock.
“But we have to accept it, that’s the reality of football. We have to see this as an opportunity for someone else to come in and perform.
“People like Adrian, Roman Golobart and the young players at the club have to be ready now to help the cause. Ben Watson is fully fit again now and everyone needs to be ready to help the team.”
Over 22,000 were in attendance for what was an entertaining encounter between two sides with much to play for in the final weeks of the campaign, and the Gaffer couldn’t speak highly enough of the Latics faithful, saying:
“They were incredible. When you look around and see that kind of support you know that the players are going to be able to continue performing until the very end.
“We were a terrific advert as a football club in how to face adversity and in how to respond to the decisions that went against us.
“We’re a unique football club in that respect and I’m sure it won’t be long before the football gods are smiling on us again.”
Finally, there was a word for Callum McManaman, who scored his first Premier League goal in fine style four minutes after the break to push Latics into the lead. Martinez spoke of his delight for the man who turned 22 earlier this week:
“I thought he was terrific throughout the game; right from his first run in the game that led to the corner that we got our equaliser from.
“His first Premier League goal is a real landmark and an outstanding finish.
“Callum is getting stronger from a physical point-of-view, is a joy to have around the club and I hope he continues to enjoy his football is this manner because he’s a joy to watch when he does.”