Lopez - Latics can beat the drop

ADRIAN Lopez insists Latics have it in them to escape the drop – if they play as well as they did at Manchester City for the rest of the season.

The Spaniard was drafted in for his full Premier League debut at Eastlands, and did a decent job at right full-back against countryman David Silva.

His only blemish was a small slip in the 38th minute, which allowed Silva to get a weak shot away that unfortunately was too hot for Ali Al Habsi to hold for what proved to be the winner.

And, while disappointed at tasting defeat on his big day, Lopez says there were enough positives for him and Latics to cling to ahead of the run-in.

“I’m happy to have made my Premier League debut, and I thought it went okay,” the former Deportivo La Coruna man said.

“The gaffer told me on the morning of the game I was playing and I was so excited to get my chance.

“Obviously I was disappointed with the result, though, and it has left a bitter taste in my mouth.

“I think we put in a good performance as a team and I feel we deserved something out of the game.

“There are nine matches left and, if we carry on working hard in training and showing the same level of performance on a matchday, I’m optimistic we can pick up enough points to stay in this division.”

Lopez, who took the place of Steve Gohouri, was one of two surprises on the Latics team sheet for the game, Tom Cleverley also coming in for last year’s Player of the Year Charles N’Zogbia on the left-hand side.

And Roberto Martinez believes the intense competition for places at the DW will play a key role in helping Latics maintain their Premier League status.

“It was a sign of the strength we have in the squad at the moment – there is real competition there,” he said.

“Everyone talks about results, and rightly so.