ROBERTO Martinez was all smiles at the Stadium of Light as he reflected on Wigan’s first away win of the season on Saturday.
Having seen his side concede the most painful of last-minute goals with Blackburn’s 98th-minute equaliser the previous week, he was thrilled by his side’s stealing of the most fortuitous of stoppage-time victories this time around.
“I think it’s a great example of why we are so hooked on football,” he beamed. “There’s such a contrast of emotions from one week to the next.
“Last week, after conceding a 98th-minute goal, we were on the floor, this week we are absolutely elated at the final whistle.”
The Spaniard now hopes that Wigan’s season starts here, though that is unlikely with four of their next five games against Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United.
But he will still have been heartened by the way that his team resisted the Black Cats sufficiently to be in a position to poach a last-minute winner.
“Sunderland started the game with fantastic intensity in that opening 20 minutes,” he was happy to concede.
“We were second best in all departments and failed to adapt to their threat.
“Our keeper, Ali Al Habsi, was disappointed with the opening goal, but how well did he redeem himself?
“He kept us in the game and then, after that, I thought we controlled the game well, finishing the first half really strongly
“Then we kept a clean sheet in the second half through sheer desire and, because we pressed so high up the pitch, we managed to sneak forward and get the winner.
“We didn’t see much of the ball in the first 30 minutes. Defensively, we gave them too much space and they really hurt us.
“But the way we finished the game was down to our physical strength. It was a very professional performance from us.”
Martinez went on to muse about how hard it is to get just rewards in this division in a which would have been particularly painful for Sunderland ears to hear.
“We went to Newcastle recently and played them off the park but somehow lost 1-0,” he said. “In this game, Sunderland played us off the park for much of the game, yet we won – that’s the Premier League.
“We are good enough this season to get more points than we got last season, but we haven’t picked up the points yet that we deserved.
“The truth is that, in football, you need momentum and we haven’t had it in recent weeks.”
They were sentiments which Steve Bruce could only have echoed.