Martinez keeps focus on safety

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is well aware that every Premier League boss has his own cross to bear.

The Spaniard takes his side to Blackburn tonight for a clash that carries a number of different relegation permutations.

Blackburn know anything other than a win could see them relegated.

As a result of their side’s struggles, a section of the Rovers support have sustained a season-long campaign to oust manager Steve Kean, with the vitriol directed towards him often overshadowing on-the-field matters.

And although Martinez was not prepared to comment on Kean’s case individually, he did accept that life in the top league can be tough.

“I don’t know their internal situation, but when you are a manager in the Premier League, everyone has different issues to resolve,” he said.

“There are many areas that are in the public, others that are behind the scenes. That’s a position that comes with the job and you need to accept it and find a solution if you can.

“But when everything is open and in the press, maybe you get repercussions. But, that’s what being a manager in this league brings.”

Blackburn actually head into the fixture in a position Wigan are familiar with.

A year ago, they looked dead and buried heading into their final two games, only to produce wins over West Ham and Stoke that earned them a dramatic reprieve.

A recent run of stellar results means they may be spared any final-day worries this time around, but knowing how Blackburn are fixed, he is taking nothing for granted.

“When you have the number of points Blackburn have got, you look at it as needing to win, but we need to win as well,” he said.

“When you go in to the last two games of the season, we know really well, that the last six points can really change your position in the table very quickly.

“We know there are two finals and you need to approach them in that manner, because the points you earn can make up 10% of your overall total. That’s how important they are.”

Almost unbelievable wins over Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle have pushed Athletic on to 37 points for the season, just three short of the mythical mark of 40 that is normally considered safe.

Such an occurrence seemed laughable earlier in the season when a run of eight straight defeats left Wigan marooned at the foot of the table.

But Martinez claims to have never looked at the ladder, focusing on points rather than placings.

“I never looked at the position in the table. I always believed that the points tally was what we had to fight for,” he said.

“Thirty-seven for us at this stage of the season is an incredible achievement and a fantastic position to be in, but we haven’t done anything yet.

“We need to be in a position to achieve our aim and then we can look back.”

Blackburn boss Steve Kean feels any nerves his players take into tonights game could give them an extra edge.

It is do-or-die time for Rovers, who are 19th in the Barclays Premier League with two games to play.

Asked about nerves in the camp, Kean said: “I feel as if it can give a positive edge.

“Sometimes you can look at the lads and think they are a little bit nervous and there is a negative energy, but they have looked bright and sharp on the training ground.”

Blackburn have lost six of their last seven games — their latest outing being a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham a week ago, in which they failed to muster a single shot on goal — but Kean insists his belief his team can beat the drop has not wavered.

Kean said: “It is not about concern — it is about reality. We find ourselves in a position much like last year when we had to go and beat Wolves on the last day of the season. I am still convinced we can do it.”


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