Figueroa likely to miss cup final

Maynor Figueroa is stretchered off
Maynor Figueroa is stretchered off

ROBERTO Martinez expects Maynor Figueroa to miss the rest of the season with the groin problem he sustained against Tottenham at the weekend.

The Honduran was stretchered off in the first half of the 2-2 draw that leaves Latics in the bottom three with just four matches remaining.

Figueroa picked up the problem stretching in the box to make a good tackle on Spurs striker Jermain Defoe, and had to be replaced by Ronnie Stam.

“The initial reaction is that Figueroa should be out for the season,” admitted Martinez.

“It is a groin strain. It was (a great tackle), but the groin got stretched and the rest of the body pulled apart.

“We need to see the extent of the problem, but he is on crutches at the moment. We will assess him.”

Figueroa would be a big miss for Latics, both for the final four games of the Premier League season and also next month’s FA Cup final against Manchester City.

His injury comes a week after fellow defender Antolin Alcaraz picked up a hamstring problem that has brought the Paraguayan’s own involvement in the Wembley showpiece into doubt.

Latics had managed to overcome the loss of Figueroa - and the disappointment of going behind to a freak goal by Gareth Bale - to lead through Emmerson Boyce’s header and Callum McManaman’s first Premier League.

However, with barely a minute remaining, Boyce unfortunately got the last touch to a goalmouth scramble to hand the Londoners an undeserved share of the spoils.

“We can look back on the game with pride, having been magnificent in everything that we did,” reflected the Wigan boss.

“Of course, we’re in a position whereby we need to win points, and I felt we did everything to deserve a win and to take all three.

“Their first goal gave them an opportunity to take the initiative and go forwards, but they had no more shots on goal from open play thereafter, and that’s down to the tactical awareness of our players, which was incredible.

“However, when you’re at one end of the table playing against a team chasing Champions League qualification, it sometimes seems as though the breaks go against you.”

Martinez believes Latics had particular reason for bemoaning Tottenham’s late leveller, which stemmed from Tom Huddlestone’s right-wing free-kick.

“If you see the replays, it puts extra salt in the wounds. It was not a free-kick - it should never have been a free-kick,” Martinez added.

“The referee (Martin Atkinson) could see it live that Kyle Walker pulls Jean Beausejour’s shoulder.

“If he (Atkinson) is looking at the ball, that is why he has missed it, but you can’t understand why the linesman doesn’t flag for it.

“We are too honest - maybe if he (Beausejour) had gone to ground, we would have had a free-kick.”

But asked if he had had a word with Beausejour about being “too honest”, Martinez said: “No - we are an honest team and I do believe that over the course of the season, if you are honest, the footballing gods will smile on you. So I hope that is the case.

“They are the little moments that are costing us games at the moment, but in terms of our performance, against a Spurs team that needed a win at this point in the season, I thought we were clearly the better side throughout.

“That gives me pride, and I couldn’t have been happier with the players’ efforts.

“The manner at which Spurs scored their late goal has left some low feelings, but come Monday I think we’ll all be able to reflect on a fantastic performance.

“We are in a results business, so we need to win games but we’ll take lessons from this game and aim to be more arrogant in certain aspects of our performance in the future.

“Our performances over the last three games have shown consistency.

“And it’s a matter of time now before we get the results, if we maintain these levels.”