Wigan boss Roberto Martinez confident his side will recover

 

Manager Roberto Martinez insists Wigan will come back stronger after a 4-1 defeat at Arsenal ended their eight-season stay in the Premier League.

Wigan, who won the FA Cup on Saturday, had to beat the Gunners to ensure any realistic chance of survival.

Wigan's rise from the bottom

Springfield Park

Wigan were finally accepted into the Football League in 1978 after many failed applications and a rejected bid to join the Scottish Second Division in 1972.

The Latics, who lost the 1973 FA Trophy final to Scarborough, won the Football League Trophy (now the Johnstone's Paint Trophy) in 1985 and 1999.

When chairman Dave Whelan took over the club in 1995 they were a mid-table Third Division (now League Two) side. They won promotions in 1997, 2003 and 2005 to reach the Premier League.

"We will keep defying the odds, keep moving forward and make sure this football club has an incredibly bright future," Martinez said.

But when asked about his future, he said: "This is not the time for that."

Chairman Dave Whelan told BBC Radio 5 live that he hopes Martinez will stay at Wigan, who will be playing in the Europa League as well as in the Championship next season.

"The whole town would like Roberto to stay on," he said. "He's been a brilliant manager for us. He is being chased regularly by some very big and wealthy clubs around England. We'd all love him to stay, we'll have talks and we will persuade him if we need to persuade him.

"At the end of the season, we always get together and have a talk and put our cards on the table. He is so honest and I am honest with him. Whatever Roberto says, we will accept and we will honour."

Martinez has been linked with a move away from the DW Stadium, with soon-to-be managerless Everton reportedly interested in the Spaniard.

However, the former Swansea boss wants to remain focused on their final game in the top flight against Aston Villa on Sunday, when his FA Cup-winning side can show their appreciation to the Latics fans.

"We've got one more game," he told BBC Sport. "We need to reflect and share our good feelings with the fans after winning the FA Cup."

Lukas Podolski put Arsenal ahead but Shaun Maloney's equaliser just before half-time gave Wigan's travelling supporters hope they could close the four-point gap on 17th-placed Sunderland.

However, second-half goals from Theo Walcott, Podolski and Aaron Ramsey sent Wigan into the Championship just three days after they claimed their first major trophy with a 1-0 win over Manchester City at Wembley. They become the first FA Cup winners to be relegated in the same season.

"The relegation is something we can rectify," Martinez told Sky Sports. "The club is on a fantastic financial footing. We are stronger than ever."

Martinez admitted he did not expect Wigan to go down but reiterated his positivity about the future for the club who have a new training ground development ongoing and talented players like Callum McManaman and James McCarthy in their ranks.

FA Cup winners Wigan are relegated

"I never expected this," he said. "The players have been great ambassadors for Wigan Athletic. I don't think we've deserved to be in the bottom three but we are.

"The players have grown massively over the last few seasons and the last 10 months.

"No-one expected Wigan to be up here for eight seasons but we'll look forward."

Martinez said injuries played a part in Wigan's demise, especially as they had just 75 hours to recover from an energy-sapping game against City at a rain-soaked Wembley on Saturday.

The Latics have lost Maynor Figueroa to a groin injury as well as Jean Beausejour to a hamstring problem and Ronnie Stam, who has ankle ligament damage, in recent weeks.

That has added to problems for Antolin Alcaraz throughout the campaign, while fellow defender Ivan Ramis has been out since January with a knee injury.

"I think it's been our best season in terms of performances, but the injuries in the back line are something I have never seen before," Martinez said.

"We have to have so many different partnerships and keep changing, and that caused us problems."