ROBERTO Martinez hit out at referee Michael Oliver and England striker Danny Welbeck after Wigan Athletic’s 4-0 defeat at Manchester United.
The normally mild-mannered Spaniard was, not for the first time, left choking on a sense of injustice as Latics’ Old Trafford misery continued.
Martinez’s men were up against it from the outset, when Oliver awarded United a spot-kick after just four minutes when Welbeck went down under little or no contact from Ali Al Habsi.
Justice was done when Al Habsi saved Javier Hernandez’s penalty, but the goalkeeper had to fish the ball out of his net four times in the second half as United ran riot.
While admitting Latics were below-par after the break, Martinez was also fuming that United finished the game with 11 men after Welbeck went through the back of Franco di Santo in the dying stages at the expense of only a yellow card.
“When you come to places like Old Trafford, you need a strong referee,” Martinez reflected. “Unfortunately we have had three men sent off on our last two visits, and after four minutes we were on the receiving end of one of the worst decisions you’re ever going to see.
“In many ways, you feel as though you are fighting against a mountain.
“I would never blame a referee for a scoreline, but you just want the official to measure both teams in the same way. There were tackles flying around that if they had been the other way round there would have been a couple of red cards.
“For Welbeck’s last challenge, his foot was over the ball on Franco. It is completely reckless.
“Under the new regulations you cannot do that. It is a red card, for a Wigan player, Manchester United, everyone.
“You need mentally strong referees to make these decisions regardless of their surroundings and the teams playing, but unfortunately I thought the game was too big for the referee.”
Martinez also reported worrying news on Antolin Alcaraz, who missed the game after picking up a groin problem on international duty last week.
“We have scanned Antolin, he has a tear in his groin, and we’ll have to wait and see how bad it is,” added Martinez.
The Wigan boss also revealed Jean Beausejour and Shaun Maloney were substituted in the second half to protect them from picking up further injuries.