Roberto Martinez tries to raise Wigan horizons following defeat at Sunderland

Sunderland 1 Wigan 0

There is a subtlety to Roberto Martinez that makes him likeable, and perhaps explains why Dave Whelan extols his talents on television every week and why Liverpool were keen on his services in the summer. So when his team fell to their fourth Premier League defeat of the season in only their sixth game, he almost whispered the final run of results that saved his football club last season.

He was reminding his players that they can have ambition above yet another relegation fight, a possibility which only emerged in the midst of such a situation last season. Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Newcastle: Wigan beat them all in that period as his and his players' stock rose dramatically.

"If you look at our results from last season, we won seven and lost two and one of them was at Stamford Bridge," he said. "We felt we did really well and from the outset of the season we had the standards of a team that would not be fighting relegation.

"You don't like it when this type of result happens. This is a squad that's ready to kick on and achieve something better than just avoiding relegation. We had a really good start until the international break then we lost our focus a little bit and haven't had any sort of luck in the last two games. The quality in the squad is good enough to be fighting higher up the league."

Martinez spoke tentatively of an appeal against the red card given to Jordi Gomez for a reckless challenge that cost his side dearly but in the cold light of day that will not happen.

Wigan had created four good chances before then, Simon Mignolet had saved excellently twice, yet with Gomez gone came five minutes when his side wobbled and Sunderland, now armed with a dangerous forward, pounced. Steven Fletcher has made a huge impact since his £12m transfer from Wolves. His 47th-minute winning goal was his fifth in four Premier League games and gained his new side their first victory of the season. Martin O'Neill called it a vital win, and it was. Statistics change quickly. Sunderland are still unbeaten this season.

Match facts

Sunderland: MIGNOLET 8/10; GARDNER 7; BRAMBLE 6; O’SHEA 6; ROSE 7; JOHNSON 6; LARSSON 7; COLBACK 6; McCLEAN 6; SESSEGNON 7; FLETCHER 8

Wigan: AL-HABSI 6; FIGEUROA 7; CALDWELL 7; RAMIS 6; BOYCE 6; BEAUSEJOUR 7; MCCARTHY 8; MCCARTHUR 7; GOMEZ 5; MALONEY 6; KONE 7

Goals: Sunderland Fletcher 51. Subs: Sun Vaughan (Johnson, 79). Wigan Di Santo 5 (Maloney, 61), Miyaichi (McArthur, 85), McManaman (Boyce, 85). Booked: Sun Fletcher, McClean. WA McArthur, McCarthy, Caldwell, Di Santo, Figueroa. Sent off: WA Gomez (47). Man of match Fletcher. Match rating 4/10. Poss: Sun 50%. WA 50%. On target: Sun 1. WA 3. Ref H Webb (Yorkshire). Att 37,742.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific