Martinez praise for Jordi

Roberto Martinez, right, and Reading's manager Brian McDermott
Roberto Martinez, right, and Reading's manager Brian McDermott

ROBERTO Martinez hopes Jordi Gomez has answered his critics among the Latics fans after his hat-trick earned a much-needed three points against Reading.

The Spaniard was making only his third start of the season in the Premier League and was jeered by a small minority early in the game after a few poor touches.

But he responded superbly with two goals in the space of 10 minutes midway through the second period to turn things around after Sean Morrison had given Reading a 35th-minute lead.

The Royals looked to have snatched a point with a major stroke of luck in the 80th minute when Ali Al Habsi dropped a wet and spinning ball against the bar that then rebounded against him and went in.

But Gomez had the last word two minutes into injury time to earn Wigan a 3-2 win that lifted them five points clear of the relegation zone.

The midfielder is only the third Latics player to score a Premier League hat-trick after Marcus Bent and Henri Camara, and Martinez believes he has been treated unfairly by some of the Wigan fans.

“The role Jordi had to play today was as unfair as you’re going to get,” said the Latics boss.

“Because he missed the first two or three passes, all of a sudden the crowd let him know.

“I’ve seen it so many times and it’s very difficult to compose yourself, and it would have been all too easy for him to hide and look away from the challenge.

“But that’s not Jordi at all. Nobody deserved a hat-trick more today than him.

“It’s not just the three goals, he always shows for the ball, he had another two great opportunities.

“The crowd were too vocal against him and I hope that today they realise that the only thing Jordi does is give his life for Wigan Athletic and to win football games. I hope we all realise that and he gets a bit of warmth the next time he’s on the pitch.”

In contrast, Al Habsi has been a huge hit since joining Wigan from Bolton in the summer of 2010 and he had made a brilliant flying save from Adam Le Fondre’s header moments before his howler.

Martinez was more than happy to forgive his keeper, saying: “Goalkeepers are exposed to that, they’re the last men, and it’s just Ali doesn’t do that, which is why you’re so surprised.

“Minutes before he had the save of the game. Internally as a team you should be there to help your team-mate when he makes a bit of an error, which happens, it’s a game of errors and you need to be able to overcome whatever situation comes your way.

“Today we showed that type of performance. In the first half we had a little bit of the feeling of something to lose. We weren’t sharp or as effective as we can be, and to concede from a set-play and allow Ali to have a mistake, I think it was more our approach and our mentality, and we need to change that.

“But it was pleasing to see the players found a reaction and a way to overcome that. To give that win to the dressing room pleased Ali more than anyone.

“I think it’s the time to thank him for the amount of times he got the team out of difficult situations with his outstanding performances.”

Martinez also admitted the victory was dedicated to Ben Watson, who turned up in crutches after breaking his leg the previous weekend at Liverpool.

“We have a very close unit and Ben wanted to be here with the boys to support them when he could easily have stayed home to rest,” added Martinez.

“That’s the unity we have in the dressing room and the feeling around the club which is so special.

“We’re all one family at Wigan Athletic and everyone gives 100% for the club.”