Roberto Martinez could not hide his delight after seeing his side twice come from behind to defeat West Bromwich Albion 3-2 at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon, but reserved special praise for the travelling Wigan Athletic supporters who were in fine voice and inspired their team to a vital victory.
Martinez said: “They never gave up hope, never stopped giving us that tremendous support we needed and to get that amount of fans travelling after the demanding month they’ve had with the number of away games we’ve had is something myself and the players truly appreciate and we’re delighted to send them home happy and proud.
“We hope they enjoy their night and get ready to recharge the batteries ahead of Tuesday night against Swansea, because we really need them with us once more for another big game.”
Arouna Kone and James McArthur scored equalising goals before Callum McManaman stole the headlines with a close range finish after inventive work from Shaun Maloney on the wing.
But as well as being impressed with the manner of the goals scored, Martinez was even happier with how his team held on in the closing stages despite intense West Brom pressure, saying:
“I’m extremely proud of the players, and today typified everything about our football club; never giving up or accepting what went against us, and going against the odds at a venue as difficult as The Hawthorns.
“I don’t think any other team has scored three goals from open play here this season, so to do that and show the fight in twice coming from behind and to hold on to the lead was extremely pleasing.
“You have to remember that we were playing with fresh memories of what happened against Tottenham Hotspur in our last match, and it would have been easy for our players to become nervous and not want to take responsibility in those final stages, but they did and that’s probably the proudest aspect of the performance.
“We’ve come away with three well deserved points thanks to our incredible team spirit.”
As for Callum McManaman, whilst many are running out of plaudits for the 22-year-old who is making a big difference to Latics’ fight for survival, Martinez still says there is more to come:
“He’s simply a young man enjoying his football. But he’s an incredible talent, and the daily work he puts in on the training ground is now transferring onto the pitch regularly.
“For his goal he comes from a wide position to find space at the near post and produce a clinical finish that wins the game.
“It’s a joy to see that hard work coming to fruition and I believe he’s a real diamond in the making with the best still to come.”
The important win did come at a cost however, when Jean Beausejour picked up a hamstring injury in the second-half to once again see Martinez’s injury-list pile up.
The Spaniard explained Beausejour’s injury:
“You have to accept that injuries will occur at this point in the season with all the demands on the team, but it seems there are too many incidents happening each week now.
“To lose Jean is a real disappointment. He’s picked up a soft tissue injury in his left hamstring which we don’t know the full extent of yet but will assess him over the next 48 hours and see how he recovers.
“Once again he was influential for us, producing as good a cross as you’re likely to see in the Premier League for the first goal, and we hope he’s going to recover before the end of the season but it’s a frustrating feeling.”