Non-league Macclesfield Town deserved credit for their FA Cup fourth round performance despite defeat to Wigan Athletic, according to the Latics’ boss Roberto Martinez.
Jordi Gomez’s seventh-minute penalty proved to be the difference between the sides as Wigan reached the FA Cup fifth round for only the second time.
Martinez however believed his side were made to work hard for their win despite being separated from the Silkmen by 83 league places.
“Macclesfield are the ones who deserve huge credit,” he told BBC Radio Manchester.
“I was very impressed with them.
“We knew coming here that this football team has fantastic confidence and they are having a good run in all competitions.
“We knew scoring the first goal would be important but we couldn’t get that second goal.”
Wigan handed Atletico Madrid loanee Joel Robles his debut in goal, and gave Nouha Dicko a first start in nine changes to the starting line-up from last week’s defeat to Sunderland.
The much-changed side repaid their manager however when Callum McManaman – fresh from signing a new contract – was fouled in the area just minutes in.
Gomez made no mistake from the spot and the Latics held on for a win which Martinez believes is proof of Wigan’s strength in depth.
“We have always said that if we want to be successful in any competition it is not about having 12 or 13 players but having 22 or 23 and a stream of youngsters,” he said.
“In the FA Cup we are now a team who can make nine or 10 changes and still have a team who know what they are doing with real good unity.
“We face every competition wanting to go as far as we can without depleting ourselves for the league.”