Martinez: Bale not Spurs' only threat
Published 26/04/2013 | 13:36
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is not losing any sleep over how to stop Gareth Bale on Saturday afternoon.
The brilliant Welshman recovered from an ankle injury in time to face Manchester City last weekend, and scored his 18th league goal of the season as Tottenham rallied to win 3-1. That came 24 hours after Martinez had seen key defender Antolin Alcaraz limp out of his own side's defeat at West Ham with a hamstring injury.
"Tottenham can only play with 11. They can't play with 13 or 14," Martinez said. "If Gareth Bale didn't play it would just be someone else and their squad is of the highest level, so it is not as if it would be substantially easier for us if he wasn't there."
He added: "We all agree Bale is one of the best players in world football. He will always bring an extra threat.
"But if you want to beat a team like Spurs, with Gareth Bale or not, you need a very good level of performance."
After years of scrapping for survival, a nagging feeling persists that events are conspiring against Wigan.
Alcaraz's absence is a hammer blow and while a first appearance in the FA Cup final - against Manchester City next month - will be an experience to savour, the fact it comes at the end of a week which includes fixtures against West Brom and Swansea makes their run-in exceptionally hazardous.
Typically though, Martinez retains an unshakeable confidence in his troops, which comes from so many similar battles.
"Every season is different," he said. "There is an inner confidence that comes from your own experience.
"The players went through it in the last campaign and they went through it two years ago when it went down to the last game of the season. That is part of our aim. We have to stay in the Premier League. That is what we want to achieve."