'Desperate' Wigan are out to repeat historic victory over United, warns Martinez
22:30 GMT, 31 December 2012
May 13, 2012, will go down in Premier League history as the day Manchester United lost the title on goal difference with practically the last kick of the season.
Those who witnessed United's alarming collapse over those final few weeks, however, know that it began long before Sergio Aguero's unforgettable goal for Manchester City left Sir Alex Ferguson and his players bereft on the pitch at Sunderland.
April 11, to be precise. United were eight points clear with six games left and odds-on for the title when the wheels began to come off on a fateful Wednesday night at Wigan, Shaun Maloney's second-half strike condemning the champions to a shock 1-0 defeat that turned the title race.
Desperate: Wigan has warned Sir Alex Ferguson that his Wigan side are desperate for points
United go back to the DW Stadium on Tuesday with a seven-point advantage knowing they can ill afford another slip with second-placed City once again leading the chase.
Roberto Martinez is convinced the secret behind one of the most famous results in Wigan's history was sheer desperation to win points in their own battle against relegation, which made his players focus on their own game rather than the calibre of their opponents.
Worryingly for United, the Wigan boss believes they are just as desperate this time around.
'Nobody could have expected what was going to happen in the following weeks,' said Martinez. 'But last season we had such a massive need to get points we couldn't afford to look who we were playing against. Too many times in the past we'd played Manchester United and that affected us.
'That day we learned we had to play Wigan Athletic.
Next in town: Alex Ferguson and his players will try to avenge last season's defeat at the DW
In the spotlight: Ashley Young and Co will be expected to leave with all three points
'The desperation factor is still there. We need to understand that 18 points at this stage of this season is desperation.
'We're not happy with that points tally, it's nowhere near good enough. There is desperation going into every game left at home this season, and Manchester United is no different.'
Wigan's impressive financial figures for the year ending May 31, released on Monday, underline the gulf between the two clubs. Despite adding to the squad, their wage bill has dropped to 37.7million compared to a whopping 160m paid out at Old Trafford.
Soaring: Wigan battered Aston Villa 3-0 away from home
Easily done Emmerson Boyce celebrates after scoring the second at Villa Park
Indeed, before Maloney's stunner in April, United had never dropped so much as a single point to their opponents in 13 encounters. The aggregate score for the previous five was 21-0.
Normal service was resumed when United won 4-0 at Old Trafford in September, and Martinez has warned his players not to dwell on the events of last season.
'It would be very dangerous to think what happened that day will happen again,' he said. 'If we do that we're in for a very long game.
'We have that recent picture of what's required to beat a team like Manchester United but I don't think the result last season will change the way they approach the game.
'They're going to come here believing they're the team that's going to win the title and to get the three points. You need to overcome that feeling of superiority.'
Remember this, Fergie Shaun Maloney fired home the decisive goal last season
If there is any encouragement for Wigan, it is that an alarming number of the 28 Premier League goals conceded by United this season have been against teams in the bottom half of the table.
'We've conceded 28 and it's only New Year,' said Ferguson. 'I remember one season with Peter Schmeichel we conceded a lot less than that over the whole season.
'We're stretching ourselves all the time. We've been forced to up the ante all the time because we're losing goals. If we stop giving them away we've got a great chance.'