I won't go against my principles: Martinez not keen to turn Wigan into defensive side
12:37 GMT, 16 September 2012
Roberto Martinez has admitted he would prefer to be criticised for sticking to his football principles than adopting a safety-first attitude that would condemn Wigan to defeat anyway.
After picking up four points from their previous two games, the Latics found Manchester United too good at Old Trafford.
Although they held out for 50 minutes before Paul Scholes marked his 700th United appearance by prodding the hosts in front, Wigan had seemed to offer their opponents too much room.
Sticking to his principles: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez gestures during the defeat to Manchester United
And with goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi having a rare off-day, it was not a surprise when the floodgates eventually opened.
The damage might have been restricted had Wigan tightened up – but Martinez will not do anything which limits his players' capacity to express themselves.
'It would have been too easy to be very defensive minded, not have a proper go and lose 1-0 with a damage-limitation performance,' he said.
'My team will never play like that and we will learn a lot.'
No help from the officials: Wigan players surround Michael Oliver after he awards a penalty against them at Old Trafford
The additional handicap Wigan had to try to overcome was the huge amount of travelling many of his players had to do during the international break.
And their performance for those first 50 minutes offers Martinez hope that last year's catastrophe can be avoided.
For 12 months ago, after a bright start, Wigan returned from the September internationals and promptly lost eight successive Premier League matches, a run that dumped them into the relegation zone – from which they did not emerge until the thrilling final weeks of the entire campaign.
'I am not going to lie,' said Martinez. 'We have really struggled after international breaks.
'This week some of them didn't come back until Friday. Some had a 10-hour flight.
'It is not an ideal way to prepare for any game. But last year was a completely different squad.
'We are still a work in progress but we have good, healthy competition for places, and I know we can improve.'