ROBERTO Martinez was left choking on a sense of injustice after Manchester United’s 4-0 victory at the DW on Saturday.
The normally-placid Wigan boss hit out at referee Mark Clattenburg for failing to send off England striker Wayne Rooney for a ‘coming-together’ with James McCarthy during the opening minutes of the encounter.
Rooney caught McCarthy in the face with his right elbow, but Clattenburg took no action, apart from awarding the hosts a free-kick.
Having looked at the incident again, Martinez is convinced his side should have been playing against 10 men for the vast majority.
“I saw the incident clearly, and the referee did as well because he gave the free-kick,” said Martinez.
“Once you give a free-kick it is quite clear that it is a red card. When you look at the replay, it is quite clear he catches James McCarthy in the face with his elbow.
“If one of my players had done that, I would think he was very lucky to stay on the pitch.
“It is a big call in the game. It is unfortunate because the referee saw it, but he didn’t feel it was a red card.
“It was not because he was Wayne Rooney. It was an incident in the game. That is it.”
Martinez felt his young midfielder was targeted by the Premier League leaders, with Paul Scholes also escaping unpunished after he clattered through the back of McCarthy. “You could see what Manchester United wanted to do,” Martinez said. “They wanted to impose themselves on James McCarthy. Unfortunately, they got away with it.
“There was also a very bad challenge from Paul Scholes on McCarthy. Again it was another free-kick that was not punished with a yellow card.
“If we are going to get a result against Manchester United, you need the big calls to go your way. That did not happen.”
The final score was undoubtedly harsh on Latics, who squandered a couple of gilt-edged chances in the first half to stamp their authority on proceedings before United took charge.
“In the first half we were a real threat, and that is backed up by the amount of possession we had and the amount of corners we won,” Martinez added. “But when you play a side like Manchester United you need to convert any chance into a goal, and it was unfortunate that we couldn’t do that.
“After they went 2-0 ahead I felt we dropped our intensity and, as a result, got heavily punished.
“When you work as hard as we did, it’s very disappointing not to be coming away with any reward.
“On another day you take your chances, get a couple of referee decisions go your way and get the result you deserve.”
n CHRIS Kirkland is expected to join Championship outfit Cardiff today on an emergency loan deal until the end of the season. Kirkland, who has spent time out at Leicester this term, will provide competition for Tom Heaton and David Marshall.