ROBERTO Martinez has warned Latics against the dangers of taking second from bottom of the table QPR lightly this weekend.
Harry Redknapp’s men look dead and buried after losing 3-2 at 10-man Fulham on Monday night. Rangers were the better side in the second half but paid the penalty for a catastrophic defensive effort before the break that saw them trail 3-0. They are seven points off safety with just seven matches remaining, meaning Sunday’s clash is very much last-chance-saloon territory.
But Martinez believes Rangers are a much better side than their league table suggests, and is taking nothing for granted with Latics themselves desperately in need of points.
“People are talking about the results QPR have had and the points they have and I don’t feel it gives a true representation,” Martinez told the Evening Post.
“You look at the performances they have had since January, when they renewed the squad, and it’s not a squad that deserves to be where it is in the table.
“I saw them against Fulham and, although they made big mistakes at the back that cost them goals, they created plenty of chances and are an extremely dangerous side.
“I feel they have been very unfortunate not to get anything out of the last two games against Fulham and Aston Villa because, on balance, they have been the better side.
“We’re not going to become confused by their last two results – we know they are capable of winning games and we’ll be well aware of what can happen.
“We can’t afford to be worrying about QPR – all we can do is worry about ourselves. We don’t have enough points on the board and we are in a relegation battle ourselves.
“We have played most of our best football away from home this season and we need to make sure we continue at that level.”
It’s not been a happy time in West London for Redknapp, who this time last year was steering Tottenham to fourth spot in the Premier League.
Redknapp used his newspaper column at the weekend to put Martinez forward as a potential England manager.
The Wigan chief, though, has far more pressing matters on his mind to think about “the impossible job” just yet.
“I didn’t hear that – maybe it was an April Fool, I don’t know,” laughed the Spaniard.
“But seriously, when you are a manager at a Premier League club, you don’t have time to think about what might be further down the line.
“There is no time to waste wondering about the future. You have to give everything you have on a daily basis to affect the present.”
Latics’ game at QPR on Sunday kicks-off at 4.10pm and is live on Sky Sports.
Michael Oliver has been confirmed as the referee for Wigan Athletic’s FA Cup semi-final with Millwall at Wembley next Saturday.
He’ll be assisted by Darren England and Peter Bankes, while the fourth official is Lee Probert.
Chris Foy will take charge of the other semi-final between Manchester City and Chelsea.