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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 15, 2011

Martinez not worried by Blackpool clash

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez insists Saturday's trip to fellow strugglers Blackpool is not "win or bust" for his relegation-threatened side.

Bottom side Wigan have been in the Premier League relegation zone for three months and now have just six games to save their top-flight status.

The competition remains tight, however, and while recognising the importance of the clash against 17th-placed Blackpool, Martinez does not want to overplay it. Victory at Bloomfield Road would lift Latics above the Seasiders and potentially out of the bottom three.

Martinez said: "I wouldn't say it is win or bust, but it is quite clear we need 10 more points between now and the end of the season and we have 18 to play for.

"It is quite an exciting moment for us. In the last eight games we played five of the top six teams in the Premier League. That is a big ask for any football club but I think the level of performance has been good.

"But we need to get wins now and we are going to approach the next six games in that manner. We all know the importance of the points going to Blackpool.

"With a win there you are not going to guarantee you stay up and losing does not mean you are going to go down. It is just a very important step towards controlling your fate.

"It is important we take it game by game and give it the importance it gets without losing sight that there are 18 points to play for."

Wigan's recent form has been encouraging. Last week they went down to a battling 1-0 defeat at title-chasing Chelsea and were similarly unlucky to lose by the same scoreline at Manchester City a month ago.

In between those games they secured a vital win over Birmingham and collected a creditable point against Tottenham.

Blackpool's early season form has deserted them and they head into the game with just one win in their last 12 outings, but they continue to play with their customary attacking zeal.

Martinez said: "Every game away from home presents a completely different puzzle but the players are ready to find the solutions.

"Blackpool are a team that are in front of us - in a position we would love to be - and in these sort of games there is an opportunity. But we know it is going to be difficult. Blackpool have been able to score in almost every game they have played for the last 18 months and that a little bit describes the way they play.

"There are going to be two sides with a clear attack-minded style - just be ready for a game that is going to have everything."

Wigan are without left-back Maynor Figueroa, who begins a two-match suspension, but are otherwise at full strength as they seek revenge for a 4-0 thrashing on the opening day of the season.

Martinez said: "We had a new, young squad and that was a real shock to the system. Then we lost 6-0 to Chelsea and to lose 10 goals in the first two games was a really difficult start.

"In a way that delayed our development and we paid the price. Then we had some injuries but finally we are in a position where I feel we can compete on the pitch and we can enjoy our football.

"We have been playing better than the table reflects and it is easy to see we have improved massively in the last eight months.

"In every department, I think the team is on a different level. It is a shame we only have six games because if we had another 30 you would see the real potential of this squad.

"Now we have to earn the right to play another 38 games to show what we can achieve. Now it is a different league - we are going to play a league of six games.

"We want to finish top and that is the way we approach it. There is nothing we need to fear. In August Blackpool had nothing to lose, it was their first game in the Premier League.

"Now we have the opposite roles."

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