De Zeeuw confident of Wigan success

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ARJAN de Zeeuw is backing Wigan Athletic to secure their Premier League safety at Ewood Park tonight.

Latics have 37 points on the board heading into their final two matches – tonight’s trip to Blackburn and next Sunday’s visit of already relegated Wolves.

After yesterday’s results a point this evening will probably now be enough for Martinez’s men to secure safety once more.

It’s a far cry from the situation at the start of February, when Latics had just 15 points from their 23 matches and were rooted to the bottom of the table.

Despite being written off by virtually everyone outside the town, Martinez kept the faith in his philosophy and his team.

And De Zeeuw says the Spaniard – with whom he shared a changing room between – deserved every plaudit coming his way.

“Robbie has always believed in the team and had faith in their ability to play football,” De Zeeuw told the Evening Post.

“Sometimes when you are scrapping at the bottom, the football goes out of the window and it becomes all about safety.

“But Robbie has stayed true to his principles, tried to keep playing and he deserves all the credit.

“In the pressure situation of a relegation battle, it’s the manager who keeps the players calm and relaxed and in the right mindset to get the win. And if it’s one thing Robbie has shown he can do, it’s keeping the players focused and playing their football.”

Rovers themselves looked relatively safe after recording back-to-back wins over Wolves and Sunderland at the beginning of March.

But a wretched recent run of six defeats from their last seven matches – the most recent a dismal 2-0 surrender at Tottenham – has left them needing snookers.

“Blackburn had no shots the other day at Tottenham – no shots at all,” De Zeeuw observed.

“When you’re down there at the bottom, you have to approach it more positively.

“You might lose a few but you’ll also win a few.

“But when you don’t shoot, you don’t score and you don’t win.

“Wigan, on the other hand, have shown in recent weeks that they have goals in them, at exactly the right time in the season, which is fantastic news.

“I’ve also been impressed with how they’ve sorted it out at the back, really tightened it up, and that has helped.”

De Zeeuw - voted Wigan’s all-time greatest player - feels Blackburn’s only chance of shocking Latics tonight will come from a physical approach.

But even then he says Latics have the character and toughness to be able to get the result that they require.

“The only thing that bothers me about Blackburn is the fact Wigan always seem to play so well against the top teams - Manchester United, Arsenal, Newcastle,” he added.

“It suits Wigan to play against teams that try and play football.

“The worry that I’d have about Blackburn is they don’t try and play football, and they’ll try and make it a scrap.

“That might be a problem to start with, but having said that you’ve got the likes of Gary Caldwell who love a scrap, so I’m sure Wigan would cope.”