Back-to-back Bob over the moon

Roberto Martinez and (rear) Kenny Dalglish
Roberto Martinez and (rear) Kenny Dalglish

ROBERTO Martinez feels Wigan Athletic are finally starting to get what they deserve after they made it back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time this season with a 2-0 victory over Stoke.

It was also the first time they have picked up three points at the DW Stadium since beating QPR in August, although victories for Rangers and Bolton prevented Latics climbing out of the relegation zone.

A week after their shock 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield, second-half goals from Antolin Alcaraz and Victor Moses capped a convincing display against an out-of-sorts Stoke.

Boss Martinez said: “We’ve had seven draws at home when I felt we were as dominant as today.

“It’s a real sign of maturity within the squad, a sign that we’re learning with every game.

“That’s very important, it’s going to help our confidence. But I do feel this is the best season of the three that I’ve had with Wigan.

“We’ve started to get the results now and this group of players deserve that.”

Wigan should have gone ahead in the fifth minute when Franco di Santo took advantage of hesitation from Andy Wilkinson but he could not beat Asmir Begovic.

Stoke offered little in attack but Latics continued to spurn opportunities, none better than the opening that Jean Beausejour had just before half-time when a Moses cross found him four yards out in front of an open goal but somehow he contrived to miss.

The winger made amends nine minutes after half-time with a peach of a cross that Alcaraz headed firmly into the bottom corner and, after Beausejour had missed another glorious chance, Moses made sure of the points in injury time, running through to beat Begovic after another Wilkinson error.

Wigan have paid for their profligacy on a number of occasions this season, but Martinez was keen to focus on his side’s solidity in defence.

He said: “Unfortunately we have learned to cope with that feeling (of missing chances) because we’ve had that time after time at home.

“We’ve created really good chances, and today it was exactly the same.

“I was really pleased with the manner that we defended.

“Probably today the focus was to try to keep a clean sheet because you know Stoke, with the threat they’ve got up front, with the confidence they’ve been playing with and the good work they do at dead-ball situations, you have to be 100 per cent.

“And defensively, as a team, we were outstanding.

“We kept Stoke really quiet. It was probably the easiest game Ali Al Habsi has had all season and that’s credit to the players.

“Going forward we created chances, we looked lively, we missed some really good opportunities.

“But that didn’t affect us to keep going forward, and then the first goal is an outstanding bit of football.

“It was a very complete performance and magnifies how important the win at Anfield was.

“It was a historic day at Liverpool but if you don’t win at home after that the points mean nothing.”

Wigan’s next three games could scarcely be more difficult, with trips to Chelsea and Arsenal sandwiching the visit of champions Manchester United.

But Martinez says Latics will go into the games with no fear thanks to their recent resurgence.

“This is a moment in the season when everything has to be perfect in order to get a result and keep a clean sheet, and that’s exactly what we were on Saturday,” he added.

“You’re seeing a group of players that have got a great togetherness and strong footballing concepts and no-one can argue the result against Stoke was well deserved.

“We’ve got some very difficult games coming up, but by the same token some exciting challenges as well which is how we’re looking at it.

“The fight for survival is going to go to the wire, but the most important thing is that we continue showing the same levels of performance which we have been doing for some time.

“We began showing these levels back in February and now the results are following the performances which is important.

“But we need to be consistent now until the very end and work hard for that points tally we want come May.”