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Martinez clears the air over Fergie comments

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has phoned Sir Alex Ferguson to explain remarks attributed to him in a Spanish newspaper.

• Martinez denies criticism

Martinez has also contacted Steve Bruce, Sam Allardyce and Rafael Benitez after they were all implicated in the article. The Spaniard felt the need to clear the air after categorically denying he suggested the Football Association are afraid to punish United boss Ferguson.

Martinez said: ''Those managers have probably been in this situation and know how things work. I have had a lot of support in that respect. To speak about other managers you need to win the league. But it is not in my nature to be outspoken.''

It was suggested that Martinez claimed Ferguson had faithful followers in Bruce and Allardyce while Benitez was the target of constant sniping.

Martinez said: ''I have the utmost respect for Sir Alex Ferguson, Sam Allardyce, Steve Bruce and Rafael Benitez. Sir Alex is probably the best manager in the world while Steve has worked under him and we have a good relationship as he worked at Wigan before me.

''As for Sam I respect his achievements and what he has done in the Premier League. I also respect Rafa as he is one of the most successful Spanish managers ever.''

Martinez added: ''It is important they all know I was very disappointed with the stories that were circulating. It is a very unfortunate situation but people need to understand what happened.''

Meanwhile, Martinez has confirmed he expects Maynor Figueroa to be out for up to seven weeks with a knee injury. The Honduran full back suffered the setback at the weekend in the victory against Burnley at Turf Moor.

"Maynor has had a second scan and we now know he has a tear in the medial ligament in his left knee," Martinez said. "It is not as bad as we feared at the beginning. He will be out for between six and seven weeks.

"Maynor is a strong man and very fit. We will support him as much as we can. It is a big blow when any player is injured as we have a small squad and everyone has a massive role. But it is part of football and you have to cope.''

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