Sunderland halted Wigan’s confidence midweek boost despite appearing to surrender control for much of the game, as Steven Fletcher bagged after Jordi Gomez saw red.
A solitary goal by in-form striker Fletcher was enough to seal three points for Sunderland in vital 1-0 win – their first Premier League victory of the season.
Three minutes before the strike, however, Latics’ Jordi Gomez received a red card for a dangerous challenge on Danny Rose.
The dismissal disappointed Roberto Martinez, especially since he believed Wigan approached the game well during the first half, but he stressed that the Latics must start finishing their positive forward movements.
Martinez said: “We started with a real confident look about us and to come here with the confidence that we had in the first half really speaks volumes.
“We created some very good chances in the first half but the three clear ones we created we need to be taking.
“In terms of the majority of the game we played really well and kept Sunderland from proving a threat and they only really had one shot on goal and that’s the one they scored from.”
Losing a player three minutes after the interval was a blow to Wigan, but Martinez saw Fletcher’s goal as the game-changer rather than the sending off.
He added: “Conceding the goal straight after the red card is what changed the game not the red card itself because we give ourselves a hard battle to get a positive result.”
Wigan managed to make the Black Cats sweat with their attacking stars – Gomez and Arouna Kone in particular – stretching Martin O’Neill’s defence.
But their former Wolves target man continues to inspire the North East side’s attacking threat.