Sport

Roberto Martinez defends Wigan’s Callum McManaman as horror tackle mars Newcastle United win

By Colin Henrys

Wigan Athletic boss Roberto Martinez leapt to the defence of Callum McManaman after the youngster was slammed for a rash challenge on Newcastle United’s Massadio Haidara.

The Latics snatched a crucial victory at the DW Stadium through Arouna Kone’s late goal after Davide Santon had earlier levelled Jean Beausejour’s opener.

However the game was marred by a horror injury to Haidara after McManaman – on his full league debut – lunged in on the Frenchman, but went unpunished by ref Mark Halsey, and Martinez believes there was no intent.

“There’s nothing malicious,” he told Sky Sports. “He’s not that sort of boy. There’s the normal enthusiasm that you get on your debut.

“I can’t really comment too much because I haven’t seen the action but I can guarantee that Callum McManaman is a young man full of talent.

“On his debut he has shown the sort of enthusiasm that you expect but he’s not a malicious player.”

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew felt Halsey also missed a handball in the build-up to Wigan’s winning goal but Martinez believes it compensates for bad decisions going against the Latics earlier this season.

“I haven’t seen the replay, but if that’s the case then I’m delighted,” he said.

“For the whole season we’ve been at the back of bad decisions against us and in football there are incidents that happen on the pitch.

“Sometimes you get a little bit of a break and sometimes you don’t and believe me all season we’ve had enough of no good luck going our way.”

Aston Villa’s victory against Queens Park Rangers the previous day means Wigan are still rooted in the drop zone but they remain just three points from safety with nine matches remaining.

Image courtesy of BBC Sport, via Youtube, with thanks

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