JORDI Gomez attributed his match-winning contribution against Wolves to a great deal of patience and sheer hard work.
The Spaniard was rewarded for a couple of impressive run-outs in the Carling Cup with his first Premier League start against Mick McCarthy’s men. And he more than repaid the faith shown in him by Roberto Martinez with the opening goal – a stunning free-kick from the edge of the penalty area – that set Latics on their way.
That makes it three goals in three starts this year for the former Swansea and Espanyol man, and he admits he has been frustrated at the time it has taken him to settle in at the DW.
“I haven’t been playing as much as I’d have liked, but I have been working so hard on the training ground to persuade the gaffer I deserve to play,” he told the Evening Post.
“It seems to have worked off and I need to make the most of it.
“Being in the first XI means everything, and I aim to stay there now.”
Gomez’s only previous goal in the league came from a similar set-piece last season against Birmingham, and it’s clearly the result of hours spent practising on the training ground.
“Yes, it was a great goal, but I was more pleased that the team won,” Gomez added.
“You always try to score when you get a free-kick from that distance and I was lucky to see it go in.
“Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t so I was pleased it went for me.”
There was nothing lucky about the goal, but Gomez was extremely fortunate to still be on the field having been on the receiving end of a ludicrous lunge from Wolves skipper Karl Henry that brought about a deserved red card with only 10 minutes gone.
“I saw the player coming and I managed to touch the ball and jump,” Gomez smiled.
“Maybe if I hadn’t jumped it would have been a lot worse, so I’m really glad I did.”
Gomez’s manager, meanwhile, refused to put the boot in to Henry and Wolves, despite the serious nature of the challenge.
“I’ve been here for 15 years. In League Two in 1995 there were seven challenges like that every 90 minutes. It’s the nature of the game,” Martinez argued.
“You get physicality and bad tackles in every league in the world.
“I don’t think it’s anything different in the Premier League.
“I don’t think we should take it out of context.”