FA Cup: Wigan's run on a par with their triumph last season, says Uwe Rosler
Uwe Rosler claims guiding Wigan back to Wembley is on a par with their improbable FA Cup triumph last season.
Last Updated: 10/03/14 3:46pm
The Latics will once again visit English football's national stadium for a semi-final showdown with Arsenal next month.
They booked that date by defeating Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in a repeat of last May's final, when Ben Watson's late header secured a famous upset that put Wigan's name on football's global map.
They were relegated from the Premier League by the Gunners just three days later, though, and this season's achievements are therefore arguably even more impressive.
When he took over in December, Rosler inherited a squad weary from Europa League jaunts and not only have the Latics managed to knock out three top-flight teams in another cup run, they also remain firmly in the Sky Bet Championship play-off picture in a campaign which will now see them complete a minimum 60 games.
"Last year was an unbelievable achievement from Roberto (Martinez) and his men to win the FA Cup and put Wigan Athletic worldwide on the football map," Rosler said.
"To follow that up this year, to being in the semi-final of the FA Cup, that is is equally strong for my players."
The ambitious Rosler has Wembley history of his own, although his memories from last year evoke altogether different emotions to those of his current employers.
He was at the Brentford helm when Yeovil won the League One play-off final 2-1 just weeks after Doncaster's last-gasp final-day victory, which dashed the Bees' promotion hopes in the most dramatic fashion.
The German will now return to Wembley again over the second weekend of April facing a more illustrious opponent.
"When you ask a young manager who wants to climb up the ladder you have the chance to play at Wembley against Arsenal... of course you take that," he said.
However, the memo at the DW Stadium is that an instant return to the Premier League remains this season's main priority. Only goal difference is keeping Wigan out of the Championship's top six and they have two games on hand over both Reading and fifth-placed Nottingham Forest.
The fixtures continue to pile up for Rosler's men but the former City striker is backing a team that have won six on the bounce to cope with the demands.
He explained: "The squad is stretching to the maximum but my players have shown absolute desire, willingness, not to get beaten - to win football games.
"When you've been mentally so strong and have good momentum, which is what we have at the moment, I hope we can tackle the amount of games coming up."
Wigan captain Emmerson Boyce was one of only four players who started both May's final and this year's last-eight victory over City.
Rosler admitted in the aftermath that he had tried to emulate the tactics which Martinez used to win the competition and the new personnel followed those orders to perfection.
"It took us so long to get hold of the cup and we don't want to give it up so easily," Boyce told Latics Player.
"Everybody talks about last year's team and great credit to this year's team - it's easy to just sit there and say that was last year's team but the boys want to prove a point."