Premier League

Roberto Martinez is determined to take Wigan to the next level but won't spend big in January

Martinez remains loyal

Roberto Martinez: 'it's tough to have a common aim with a squad made up of 18 nationalities'

Manager Roberto Martinez that he decided to stay at Wigan this summer because chairman Dave Whelan shares his passion to turn the Latics into a top-10 club.

Martinez, 39, was linked to a number of clubs earlier this year with Liverpool leading the chase before Brendan Rodgers landed the Anfield job.

The Spaniard told Goals on Sunday before Sunday's fixtures that although Wigan sit 18th in the Premier League table he is confident he can build on last season's 15th-place finish.

"I always believe that there is a right time and a wrong time to speak about this speculation and when I arrived at Wigan we had a very clear three-year project with the chairman," he said.

"The summer was a moment when the chairman had to think about what he wanted to do - what the next step was - because as a football club we had to go to the next level."

Roberto Martinez

"The summer was a moment when the chairman had to think about what he wanted to do - what the next step was - because as a football club we had to go to the next level and we had to invest a lot of money into the facilities and try to build on what we did previously.

"From my point of view I met with a few football clubs and everything was in the open with the chairman, but then he is a very special man, someone who is quite unique. We've got a very good relationship. He is a winner and is very demanding but in the right manner; he allows me to work.

"In the summer he wanted us to take the next step and that meant a lot of commitment and now it's my time to pay that support and loyalty back to him. As a manager you don't get many relationships where you are allowed to work and change things around and that was the moment to do that."

Decisions

Martinez left Swansea in June 2009 after guiding the club to the League One title in 2007/08 and promotion to the Championship - the Latics going on to win promotion to the Premier League under Rodgers.

Although he still feels a strong affiliation to The Swans, Martinez told Goals on Sunday hosts Ben Shephard and Chris Kamara that the club's ambitions didn't match his own.

"As a manager you know when it's the right time to leave," he said. "Managers carry a lot - sometimes you are the face of a lot of things; but the reality is that as a manager you need to make decisions for the good of the football club for the rest of its history and there is a right time and a wrong time to go.

"When I was at Swansea it was the right time to move on. We'd built something special on the football pitch but it needed an extra push in financial and other areas.

"This summer it was down to the chairman - if he wanted to re-invest and wanted to, in a way, put the ideas that we'd be in the top league into some sort of a structure and he wanted me to stay - that's completely different. It was the right time to go.

"But there will be a moment when Wigan will have enough of myself! But I've never seen football as down to the managers and the manager's situation; it's the situation of the football club that allows a manager to move on or not."

Challenge

Martinez was unable to select seven players - including four centre-backs - for Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal due to an injury crisis at the club and he insists that his priority in the New Year will be to get some of those absentees back on the pitch rather than make a glut of new signings.

"We need to add to the squad, that's clear; now we've got four centre-halves injured - that's been a very difficult challenge to cope with," he said. "But this has been the best squad that I've had since I've been at Wigan. There's a real clarity in the way that we want to play and we need to get out of this moment of bad form.

"We've attracted a little bit too negativity and we need to turn it around quickly but it's not about bringing players in - it's about getting the players who are injured back and we'll get the rewards in the second half of the season.

"You need to pay a lot of money in January to buy a player who will make an instant impact in the Premier League; you need to follow players for a long, long time and make sure that you are not involved in that crazy financial market that January brings."

Wigan travel to Everton on Boxing Day before making the trip to Aston Villa on December 29; they then entertain Manchester United on January 1, before playing Fulham (away), Sunderland (home) and Stoke (away)

"All of them are tricky - in this league for one reason or another you get different challenges every weekend," said Martinez.

"Goodison Park is as difficult a ground as you can hope to face but if we are at our best then we are capable of getting results against anyone but it's very difficult to get points consistently in this league."

Focused

Wigan maintained their Premier League status last season on the back of a surging finish to the campaign, in which they won seven of their last nine games - including victories over Manchester United and Arsenal.

Martinez maintains that there's no reason why his team can't put together another strong run of results in 2013 once the squad has fully gelled.

"The thing is we've got a very good group of players and you build up in a very difficult league," he said. "We are building some sort of knowledge about the way you want to play and there is a real meaning in the results because in the last third of the competition you need to give everything you've got to achieve your aim.

"It seems that as a team we click into place and we can perform at a better level. Remember that we've got 18 different nationalities in the dressing room and it's difficult, sometimes, to have that common aim. Wigan Athletic is a tremendous example of how everything can get behind a football club; the last third of the competition is where everyone is focused and ready to give their all."