Monday 18 December 2017

Martinez hails Latics' never-say-die attitude

Eleanor Crooks



Wigan manager Roberto Martinez praised the Latics for their attitude as they twice fought back from behind to earn a draw yesterday. Wigan were hoping to bounce back from last weekend's crushing defeat by bottom side West Ham, but things did not look promising when Robert Huth's deflected free-kick put Stoke ahead.

An own goal from Danny Collins drew the hosts level and a deflected effort from Tom Cleverley in the 40th minute earned them a point after Matthew Etherington had swiftly put the Potters back ahead. Martinez felt Wigan were a little unfortunate not to take all three points, which would have lifted them out of the relegation zone, after Charles N'Zogbia's shot was pushed against a post by Asmir Begovic late on.

"I was extremely proud of the second-half performance and the manner with which we approached the game," he said. "With the deflection, it seemed that everything goes against us, but we reacted in the right manner and Charles N'Zogbia's chance at the end, which is an outstanding save from Begovic, that would have given us the reward I think we would have deserved."

The game sprang to life in the 18th minute when Ricardo Fuller won a dubious free-kick for a foul by Hendry Thomas. Huth's shot from 30 yards lacked power, but a deflection off the heel of Mohamed Diame in the wall took it beyond Ali Al Habsi. It was rough on Wigan but their equaliser on the half-hour mark certainly owed a lot to luck as well, with Ben Watson's free-kick flicked past his own 'keeper by Collins.

Two minutes later, however, Kenwyne Jones played in Fuller, who laid Stoke's second goal on a plate for Etherington. But on 40 minutes the home fans were celebrating again, and it was yet another deflected goal as Cleverley cut in from the right and unleashed a shot that clipped Rory Delap and nestled in the corner of the net.

"Fair play to Wigan, they came back twice," said Stoke manager Tony Pulis. "Albeit the two goals they scored were deflected goals. We created chances, they created chances, it was a very open game."

Sunday Independent

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