MARTINEZ DESPERATE TO PUSH ON
Manager Roberto Martinez believes Wigan have made significant progress over the last few months but accepts they must maintain it next season.
A brilliant end to the Barclays Premier League campaign saw the Latics beat Wolves 3-2 on Sunday to make it seven wins in their final nine matches, allowing them to comfortably avoid relegation.
But there are a number of issues to be dealt with over the summer as speculation has already started about the future of Martinez, as it did last year when he turned down Aston Villa, and some of his players.
The Spaniard, who by saying "as a manager you cannot think about the things you cannot control" has hardly quashed rumours linking him with the likes of Liverpool, has to recruit well and also keep key players at the DW Stadium.
If he does so he has a chance of building on the impressive work which secured an eighth successive top-flight season for Wigan.
"To be able to get a third win in a row, more points than last season, and 15th place is a remarkable achievement," said Martinez.
"After where we were in November (bottom after eight straight defeats) it is a day to celebrate and we can be very proud of the performances of the players.
"The way we performed over the last 15 games has been so consistent and so well balanced.
"We have been a good side going forward and defensively we all work hard for each other and we have been solid.
"I was very proud, from a distance, when Wigan got promoted to the Premier League and now I am even prouder we are breaking records.
"I feel the club is going from strength to strength. Financially we are in a very good position and that is down to the hard work of everyone at the club.
"Next season we have to reproduce this level from day one, not when we have to do something."
Martinez played down his own influence in the team's survival but this was his highest finish in the top flight and Wigan's third-best points tally in seven seasons.
He thanked chairman Dave Whelan for his unwavering backing.
"As a manager you cannot control the support you get, you rely on other people," he added.
"The big advantage I have is that I rely on my chairman, someone who understands the game and has been so supportive since day one. I know I can trust him.
"In November he was a bit concerned after eight straight defeats but he asked what I thought would happen and I said 'We will be fine'.
"His belief in that moment is our success today and I thank him for that."
Martinez was keen to credit the squad's efforts in hauling Wigan off the bottom of the table when they looked doomed to relegation.
"As a manager you need to help your players but everything is down to them when they get on the pitch," said the Latics boss.
"They are the ones who need to make decisions, perform and overcome the fear of playing against incredible teams.
"I can help them but to achieve something in football it is about players and they have been incredible.
"We need to be very proud of the youngsters of this club because I thought they were incredible ambassadors for the team, especially when we were in the bottom two of the league."
This summer Martinez will lose Hugo Rodallega, Mohamed Diame, Chris Kirkland and Steve Gohouri as their contracts are soon to expire but the turnover of players is not new to the Spaniard, who hopes to do some early business before Euro 2012.
"We had to cope with the departures of Tom Cleverley (loaned by Manchester United) and Charles N'Zogbia (sold to Aston Villa) who had two big roles in last season's team," said Martinez.
"Slowly we developed good partnerships and the level of performances have been as good as you will see in this league.
"We have to make sure recruitment is right. We need to make sure the four or five who come in improve the squad.
"There are two different markets: one for players who don't play in the Euros and we have time to do that and from our position we have to keep all our options open.
"There is also a small group where we need to be quick to make sure we do it before they go to the Euros - or hope these players have a terrible tournament and then we will be able to afford them."
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