Wigan boss Roberto Martinez felt his team fully deserved to emerge triumphant from yesterday’s “phenomenal” Barclays Premier League clash with West Ham.
Two first-half Demba Ba headers put the Hammers firmly in control at the DW Stadium, but Charles N’Zogbia pulled a goal back direct from a free-kick before substitute Conor Sammon levelled.
N’Zogbia then struck a dramatic winner in the 94th minute, sealing a 3-2 victory which confirmed West Ham’s relegation and kept Wigan’s survival hopes alive by drawing them level on points with Blackpool and Birmingham ahead of next Sunday’s final round of fixtures.
“It was a phenomenal game of football. I know sometimes we say that too cheaply, but this game was something unique,” said Martinez, whose team travel to Stoke for their last match of the season.
“It was a unique moment in our history and I hope that now we can prepare properly for Sunday and face our second ’final’.”
Martinez hailed the character his players showed to haul themselves back into the contest.
“You are going into the game knowing the importance of the three points and probably our first half reflected that,” he said.
“We were a little bit anxious, we couldn’t hold the ball or effect the game and West Ham started really well, they had prepared in a very good manner.
“At half-time it was a real mountain for us, but that is when the character came out. I don’t think the second 45 minutes is an accident.
“It was a little bit harsh on West Ham because I thought they played in a great manner, but I felt we deserved it because of the chances we created and the quality we showed.
“The players were magnificent.”
While Wigan can still preserve their Premier League status, West Ham are facing up to the reality of npower Championship football, as well as searching for a new manager.
Just over an hour after the final whistle, the club confirmed Avram Grant’s time in charge had come to an end.
Martinez expressed his sympathy for the club’s plight.
“You can only speak about what you play against and West Ham started really strong, dominated the midfield area and scored in the first attack,” Martinez said.
“With regard to the manner in which they performed, even chasing for that goal at the end, everyone at West Ham can be pleased.
“Obviously it is a sad day because you don’t want to get relegated and that is a difficult feeling.
“It is quite clear. West Ham are the first team to get relegated from the Premier League but they are not a bad side.”