It's all about the players! Martinez hails Wigan stars after beating the drop
23:07 GMT, 7 May 2012
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez hailed his players after they beat Blackburn 1-0 at Ewood Park to secure their future in the Barclays Premier League while condemning Rovers to the npower Championship.
Only a win would have saved Steve Kean's side from relegation, but Antolin Alcaraz's 87th-minute header handed Wigan the points and sealed Blackburn's fate in a nervy game.
Martinez praised the performance of his side during the last 13 games of the season which culminated in tonight's crucial win.
Pure delight: Wigan secured their Premier League survival with a win
'It doesn't seem real yet,' Martinez said. 'Its a great feeling because you could feel the tension and it was a cagey affair. To do that and to keep a clean sheet – to have that and what it means is incredible. Eight years in the Premier League
'It's been a great run but football is about the players. It's very easy to say the right things but what matters is when you cross the white line to be brave and arrogant.
'All I do is allow them to enjoy their football and the credit goes to the players. You get really high pressure. We've been in the bottom three for a long time. They made the football club proud and the chairman proud.'
Wigan owner Dave Whelan revealed he has mixed emotions following the result but was full of praise for the achievements of Martinez.
Salute: Wigan boss Roberto Martinez
'I'm really sorry that we put Rovers down,' Whelan, a former Blackburn player, also said on Sky Sports 1. 'I had 11 fantastic years here. Of course I'm Wigan Athletic through and through but I'm really sorry Rovers have gone down.
'He (Martinez) has had faith from day one and we had a really tough start to the season but he always believed and had faith in this players.
'As the season has gone along we've played better and better and I think Roberto has proved once and for all that he is a quality manger.
'I believe Roberto will go to one of the top European clubs when the time is right but hopefully we can hold on to him for one or more years.
'We can't do things like Man City and Man Utd and the big clubs but if we can be in the top half of the Premier League it would be a wonderful achievement.'
Wigan captain Gary Caldwell spoke of his relief after his side avoided the drop for the second season in a row.
Contrasting emotions: Wigan's win condemned Blackburn to relegation
'I'm happy. We put ourselves in a very precarious position early in the season and as a club we have to be better than that,' Caldwell said. 'Our start to the season wasn't good enough. All credit to everyone at the football club as we dug in.'
Caldwell also hailed the calm Martinez brought to the side in the latter stages of the campaign.
'(He deserves) great credit,' he added. 'When everyone else started panicking and the world tells you you're going down he stays calm and remains true to his principles.
'We showed great belief in our system and our style of play. This has to be the platform for the football club to progress and moved on.'