Roberto Martinez coy on commitment to relegated Wigan next season

Spaniard keeping his cards close to his chest on his next move as Latics are relegated from the top flight three days after their FA Cup success

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 3:47am

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has refused to confirm his future with the FA Cup winners after their 4-1 defeat at Arsenal confirmed their relegation from the Premier League.

The club will be back in the Championship for the first time in eight years next season, but whether their highly rated boss will be with them is in doubt.

Wigan have become the first club to win the FA Cup and be relegated in the same season, but Martinez is still highly popular thanks to their upset against Manchester City at Wembley on Saturday.

However, the Spaniard is one of the favourites to take over at Everton following David Moyes' impending move to Manchester United.

And the prospect of life in the second tier may persuade Martinez that now is the time to move on after he rejected approaches from Aston Villa and Liverpool over the past two years.

But for now he is playing his cards close to his chest.

"If I am honest with you it is so fresh that we have been relegated and I don't think it is the time [to talk about the future]," he said.

"Now is not the time for individuals. When you walk into the dressing room after this match it is heartbreaking.

"In the summer, as always happens, there will be assessments and whatever happens will happen."

It was understandable that Martinez was unwilling to focus on his own situation at such a delicate time for the club.

Just three days previously he had secured the first major trophy in Wigan's 81-year history.

But that incredible Wembley triumph had left his players running on fumes and they collapsed in disastrous fashion in the second half at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

Shaun Maloney's superb free kick in first half stoppage-time had given Wigan hope after Lukas Podolski's early opener.

However, sloppy defending, their Achilles heel all season, returned to haunt them again as Theo Walcott, Podolski and Aaron Ramsey were allowed to score far too easily.

"I know from the outside you could see relegation was possible but I never thought for a second it would happen," Martinez said.

"I was confident this team could win the last two games, so it is difficult to describe the feelings. It comes as a shock.

"I don't think you get many managers saying they are proud of their players when they get relegated.

"But we don't deserve to be in the bottom three. You will never see a better group of players than these in the way they play and represent the club.

"The FA Cup is an achievement we will never lose as a club. It's just a real shame it happens in the same season as relegation."

While Wigan face a gruelling slog to earn the right to return to the Premier League, Arsenal are now within touching distance of qualifying for the Champions League for a 16th consecutive season.

An eighth successive season without silverware meant the pressure was on Arsene Wenger's team to at least finish in the top four and they will achieve that aim with a win at Newcastle on Sunday.

Wenger is confident Arsenal, one point clear of fifth placed Tottenham, will finish the job after keeping their composure with so much at stake against Wigan.

"It is all open, it depends on our result. Even third place is not out of sight if we win the game," Wenger said.

"I'm confident because we have experience and we played for a long time under massive pressure this season. We always found the solutions to the problems we faced."

The only dark cloud for Wenger was an injury to Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta that has him in doubt for Sunday's crunch clash.

"Arteta has a calf injury. It would be a big blow if he doesn't play, so I don't rule him out at the moment," Wenger said. "Maybe we will have to push [Jack] Wilshere in if he doesn't play."


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