No rest for footy-mad Roberto

Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez

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ROBERTO Martinez has revealed how he spends his ‘down time’ away from the pressures of a relegation dogfight – watching even more football.

As bosses up and down the country look for ways of dealing with the tightest Premier League in years, the Wigan chief can’t get enough of the beautiful game.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s crunch clash at Blackpool, Martinez admits he’s been spending his evenings parked on the couch enjoying watching other teams around the world negotiate their own battles.

“I know it sounds very strange, but I relax by watching football,” Martinez told the Evening Post.

“It’s great to see other teams with their own problems and trying to find their own solutions out there on the pitch.

“When you are watching other teams play football, and you have no problems to solve, it’s a very, very relaxing way to enjoy life.

“I have a great system at home that allows me to watch all the leagues around the world – and believe me it’s a recipe for disaster for a relationship at home!

“I probably watch between 12-15 games a week, from Europe and South America, and it’s always fascinating.

“It’s not even about spotting players – it’s about immersing yourself into a game, relaxing and finding a little bit of inner peace to keep you going.”

Latics will arrive at Bloomfield Road rock bottom of the Premier League but knowing a victory would lift them above their 17th-placed opponents.

Martinez is well aware that time is running out for Latics to transform some encouraging recent displays into precious points, but feels his side are ready to peak at just the right time.

“I would love for the league to be starting right now, and to have 38 games remaining, because I feel the team is finally ready now to compete at this level,” he assessed.

“The thing is, we are paying the price for making a slow start to the season.

“But, as it stands, we are looking at a mini-league at the bottom of perhaps six teams, and we have to make sure we finish at the top of that league.

“If we can finish top of our mini-league, it will earn us the right to 38 more games next season to show the real potential we have in this squad.”

Despite its massive implications, the Spaniard is keen to play down the significance of tomorrow’s game – although he says the players are champing at the bit to get out there and show what they can do.

“I wouldn’t say it is the biggest game since I’ve been here, but it’s quite clear that each of the next six games we have left will become in turn the most important game of the season,” he added.

“Whatever happens at Blackpool will not change the fact the next game will be more important.

“If we win at Blackpool, we’re not guaranteed to stay up, and a defeat wouldn’t mean we’ll go down.

“I just feel the players are ready – physically and mentally – to go.

“It sounds stupid, I know, with us sitting at the bottom of the table, but everyone is very, very excited and ready do their bit for Wigan Athletic.”