SHAUN Maloney admits Roberto Martinez played a massive role in the decision to pledge his future to Latics.
The Scotland international penned a new deal t the end of last week, although the celebrations were soured by Sunderland’s 3-2 victory at the DW on Saturday.
Nevertheless, Maloney was once again the pick of the Wigan side – creating one goal, hitting the woodwork with a free-kick and seeing another shot brilliantly saved by Simon Mignolet.
And he credits Martinez with kickstarting his career since moving to Wigan 18 months ago.
“Once I’d spoken to the manager I was keen to put pen to paper,” Maloney said. “When contracts start to get near to their duration, it becomes a little bit unsettling for both player and club.
“I was happy that the manager was so keen for me to stay, and that made it an easy decision.
“I’d been plagued with injuries for a couple of years before I came to Wigan,but since I’ve been here I’ve seen a different side of the game under the manager.
“In terms of tactics and the work we do in training, I haven’t really experienced anything like it and I have learned a hell of a lot in the short time I’ve been here.” Latics slipped to second-bottom of the Premier League after the defeat to Sunderland, who had been mentioned as possible suitors during the transfer window.
And the playmaker, who turns 30 on Tuesday, admits Latics have only themselves to blame for suffering their third home defeat on the spin.
“The first half performance has obviously cost us – it just wasn’t good enough from every single one of us,” he added.
“We gave it a right go in the second half, but credit to Sunderland they managed to hold out. We didn’t start well for some reason. Even our first goal was a really scrappy effort. They got the penalty, and from then on we didn’t defend as a team or attack with any conviction.
“All facets of our game weren’t at the races in the first half, and we gave ourselves too much to do.
“Once we got the second goal there was a feeling we might go on and get the equaliser, but it wasn’t to be.”
Wigan’s U21 game with Sheffield United, scheduled for yesterday, was postponed due to heavy snowfall.
Macclesfield fans were invited down to the Moss Rose ground yesterday to help clear the playing surface of snow, ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie against Latics.