Roberto Martinez ‘proud’ of 10-man Wigan Athletic despite Newcastle United thrashing

By Matt Simpson

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez was proud of his players’ reaction to going down to ten men during his side’s defeat to Newcastle United.

A Demba Ba double – one from the penalty spot after Maynor Figueroa was sent off – and a stunning strike from Gael Bigirimana left the Latics empty-handed.

Wigan were on top early on before the questionable red card changed the game, but the Spaniard was pleased with the way his team dealt with disadvantage.

“It became a very difficult game in 10 minutes when you give a two-goal cushion and go a man down,” he told Sky Sports.

“It would have been very easy to feel sorry for ourselves. I was extremely proud with the reaction of my players.

“We gave a real feeling of fear to the Newcastle side. We got on the ball. Unfortunately we couldn’t get that early (second-half) goal that you need.”

Newcastle took the lead after 12 minutes when Ba converted from the penalty spot after Figueroa was dismissed for what appeared to be a 50-50 challenge.

The Senegal striker then doubled his tally, and Newcastle’s lead, eight minutes later tapping home when Ali Al-Habsi parried Davide Santon’s 25-yard pile-driver into his path.

Wigan improved after half-time, pressuring the Toon for long periods, but the game was over with 15 minutes remaining when Bigirimana’s long-range effort found the top corner.

The result leaves the Latics two points off the relegation zone, but Martinez believes his players will be rewarded if they continue to replicate their second-half display.

He added: “The players are going to get their rewards if they keep doing that. We need to take it into the next home game.”

After receiving a straight red, Honduran defender Figueroa is now set to miss the next three games – two six-pointers against Queen’s Park Rangers and Norwich City then the visit of Arsenal.

However, Martinez feels the challenge was shoulder to shoulder and is now looking to appeal against referee Mike Jones’ decision.

“It was a big decision. You need to be certain of a decision like that,” he said.

“For me, it was between the two players. I think Maynor Figueroa is allowed to challenge for that ball and we are unfortunate.

“What is important is that the contact was shoulder to shoulder, and that’s allowed.

“In the laws of the game, you are allowed to challenge for the position. We will have to look into it if we can appeal for the red card.”

Picture courtesy of YouTube, with thanks.

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