Martinez - Six still in drop battle

Share this article

ROBERTO Martinez reckons as many as six teams are still involved in the tightest relegation battle the Premier League has ever seen.

Latics remain in the bottom three on goal difference with three matches remaining, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa.

A win could take them above fourth-bottom Blackpool and level with fifth-bottom Blackburn on 38 points, one point behind Birmingham.

And the Wigan boss says even Alex McLeish’s men have work to do to cement their top-flight status for another season.

“I think six teams are still involved in the relegation battle,” he told the Evening Post.

“It’s fair to say 40 points will get you safe, and six teams do not have that many points as yet.

“A few weeks ago I think we all thought it would be a lot more points (to guarantee safety), but the teams at the bottom have been playing each other and the figure has come down.

“Until you get that 40-point mark, you’ll still be in a position of uncertainty.

“But with three games to go, we’re in a position where everything is still in our hands, and we’re confident we can get out of it.”

Wigan blew a great chance to move out of the drop zone when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton last weekend.

Charles N’Zogbia’s early goal was cancelled out by a Leighton Baines penalty 13 minutes from time, and Martinez admits it was frustrating to only come away with a point.

“Once you get the first goal, you have to make sure you go on and get the second,” the Spaniard acknowledged.

“And I think we created enough chances to do that. We just lacked that clinical touch or that final pass in the last third.

“After we conceded a bizarre penalty, the reaction in the last 10 minutes was very positive and the performance overall was very positive.

“We are still catching up in terms of the number of points we should have, and that impacts on the pressure surrounding players’ decisions on the pitch.”