Slow start to season frustrates Wigan manager Roberto Martinez


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The Independent Football

Wigan's ability to perform when it really matters has kept them in the Premier League for the last two seasons, but for boss Roberto Martinez it is also a source of frustration.

The Latics looked dead and buried before winning seven of their last nine games to stave off relegation in the 2011-12 campaign, almost twice as many victories as they had managed in the rest of the season combined.

Martinez had hoped they would carry the momentum into this season but, after a promising start, they have picked up only one point from their past five games, leaving the Latics down the wrong end of the table once again.

"I don't like it," said the Wigan boss. "I would prefer to be a team where we don't need to be under those circumstances to get the best out of us.

"But it's a real strength to be able to perform under those circumstances, it's not a normal thing, the normal thing is to freeze. We are the opposite in many ways.

"I don't want to change that, but I want to make sure we can go game by game with expectations, putting ourselves under pressure that we want to win.

"It would be great to be able to be in a position where we can develop a winning mentality without being under those massive strains and massive expectations.

"That's probably the next step. We've been correcting things season after season, now it's more a question of mentality and small details that allow you to get three points."

Wigan's next opportunity to end their six-game winless league run, and secure a first home victory of the season, comes against West Ham on Saturday, a team they have already beaten in the Capital One Cup.

And one thing Martinez will definitely not be changing is his belief in a passing game.

"Everyone understands how we want to win football games, what we need to do is be better at it," said the Spaniard. "I don't think it's a question of changing philosophy or changing the style, that doesn't guarantee you results.

"We're very clear in how we want to win games, not just now but a year, two years down the line and create a philosophy that is going to make us a very strong football club.

"I do feel we're getting better, season after season. If you saw the last nine games of last season, as a football club the fans know that's what we want from our team. Our work is to achieve that over the course of 10 months.

"Obviously we're playing in the best league in the world, we're facing big budgets and big teams, but we need to find that excellence like we showed in nine games.

"Football is about winning games, the philosophy only shows you the direction. Then you need to do things well."

Martinez, meanwhile, gave his reaction to the dismissal of his appeal against the fine he received following comments he made about referee Michael Oliver.

Martinez was upset with a number of decisions Oliver made in Wigan's 4-0 defeat by Manchester United last month and was charged by the Football Association for implying in his post-match press conference that the referee was biased.

Martinez was adamant that had not been his intention and the Spaniard's fine was reduced from £10,000 to £8,000.

He said: "Straight after the appeal I was told I wasn't in breach of the rule questioning the integrity of the referee. If you saw the press conference, and I brought that to the appeal, it was clear that wasn't the case.

"But I was guilty of leaving a comment open to interpretation. I have to accept that. I don't think you can stop leaving things open to interpretation but, if those are the rules, I'll accept it.

"But I'm happy they were clear I never questioned the integrity of the referee. If anything, I tried to help the referee. So I'm half pleased."