Martinez: Relegation would turn FA Cup final into 'empty achievement'
12:19 GMT, 16 April 2013
13:13 GMT, 16 April 2013
Roberto Martinez has admitted that reaching the FA Cup final will go down as an 'empty achievement' if Wigan fail to safeguard their Barclays Premier League status.
Relegation-threatened Wigan face Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night in what is being dubbed a dress rehearsal for next month's final, after both teams came through last weekend's semi-final ties.
But Wembley will not be allowed anywhere near Martinez's thoughts, after he described how Wigan's players travelled straight back after Saturday evening's win over Millwall and trained the following day.
Scroll down to watch Martinez's pre-match press conference
Extra motivation: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez thinks getting to the FA Cup final can help his team's Premier League survival chances
Far from staying over in London for a party to mark their first-ever Cup final place, Wigan's squad were heading north within an hour or so of the final whistle, and Martinez explained why, as he said:
'I didn't allow too many celebrations, because Wednesday's game is so important.
'We switched back to normality straightaway, and put in a great day's work on Sunday, and that is huge credit to the players.
April 17: Manchester City (a) April 20: West Ham (a) April 27: Tottenham (h) May 4: West Brom (a) May 7: Swansea (h) May 14: Arsenal (a) May 19: Aston Villa (h)
The Latics currently sit in the last relegation place, three points behind Aston Villa but have two games in hand on their rivals. However, Martinez is fully aware of the task facing his side as they visit the reigning league champions tomorrow.
He said: 'Given City's record at home over the past couple of seasons, this is the toughest test we could face, but we have to respond to the position we are in and make sure we keep picking up points.
'If we do, it will be an incredible achievement to secure a ninth season in the Premier League. That would be some statement.
'If we don't, then reaching the Cup final will become an empty achievement. The Cup is the oldest and best knock-out tournament in the world.
'There is no doubt about that, and getting to the final is an historic moment for this club, and one we are proud of. But we can only count this season as a success if we stay in the Premier League.
Wembley glory: Shaun Maloney celebrates his goal in Wigan's 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Millwall on Saturday
'Other teams have reached Wembley finals and been relegated, so that shows the demands we are facing. We are probably facing the hardest fight to stay up so far, and that is credit to the teams around us and the competitive nature of this league.
'But I believe our Cup expoits can actually enhance our survival prospects. Stepping out at Wembley next month would be a unique moment in the career of every Wigan player, and none of them wants to miss out on that. The only way to ensure a place is by contributing to the intervening League games, and that is bringing a really good competitive edge to our play.
'Everyone wants to be involved next month, and that is a great motivation for them over the next few weeks.'
VIDEO Martinez praises Wigan players' form
Martinez praises Wigan players
'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'title' : “Martinez praises Wigan players”,
'videoId' : 1005534,
'adsEnabled' : true,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv2304105541001”,
'videoPlayer' : “2304105541001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2309830/Roberto-Martinez-admits-Premier-League-relegation-mean-Wigans-FA-Cup-final-spot.html”