WIGAN Athletic boss Roberto Martinez admitted last night’s magnificent victory over Arsenal was even sweeter than beating Manchester United.
Latics followed up their 1-0 victory over United last Wednesday with a 2-1 triumph at the Emirates to make it four wins from their last five games.
It takes them five points clear of the drop zone with four matches to play – and Martinez heaped praise on his team of heroes.
“I’m very proud of the team, because coming away from home to the Emirates was a much tougher test than Wednesday night,” he told the Evening Post.
“The United game took a lot out of us physically and mentally, but I felt every player was sensational again.
“We started very well, scoring two goals against a very good Arsenal side from open play, and that spoke volumes of our counter-attack and the quality we have in the team.
“I feared how we would deal with the next 80 minutes against a team having to go forward and attack the game themselves.
“It seemed like an eternity, and at half-time we felt we were giving the ball away too cheaply.
“But after the break the players were incredible, and the hard work put in over months, even years showed through.”
The win caps a marvellous month for Latics, who kickstarted their resurgence with a first-ever victory at Liverpool.
“To have gone to Anfield a few weeks ago and won was an historic moment for us, but tonight was an even bigger achievement for what we had to play against,” Martinez said.
“People will say Arsenal had a bad night but that wasn’t the case – they enjoyed good possession and had players on the pitch who are in very good moments of form.
“But now is the moment to re-group, recover and make sure we approach the next four games with the same intensity.
“We haven’t got enough points to achieve our aim yet, and we want to do that in order to savour these moments.”
Last night’s win was achieved without Shaun Maloney, who had to cry off with a knee injury sustained in training.
That meant a rare start for Jordi Gomez, who responded by setting up Franco di Santo for the opener before slotting home number two himself.
“Jordi has been fantastic all season and he’s now joint-top scorer with Franco,” added Martinez.
“In recent weeks he’s had time to recover and get that bit of freshness back into his game, but he started very sharp and brought real quality to the game.”