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Roberto Martinez

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Roberto Martinez - the man who shook up the season

By Matt Lawton

PUBLISHED: 23:50, 20 April 2012 | UPDATED: 10:01, 21 April 2012

There is a room at Wigan Athletic's training ground that Roberto Martinez has covered, wall-to-wall, in photographs. On two walls are black-and-white portraits of 50 players, each one marking their first international appearance while at the club. Opposite these are photographs recording the first goals that players have scored in a Wigan shirt.

But it is the international wall of fame that highlights how far Wigan have come in such a short space of time. The club was founded in 1932 but not until Roy Carroll kept goal for Northern Ireland against Thailand in May 1997 could they claim to have an international on their books. Martinez borrowed the idea from Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

'You'll see it at other clubs, too,' says a Catalan who raves as much about 'the Real Madrid team of Toshack' as he does 'the Cruyff revolution at Barcelona'.

He explains: 'We are making history here and I want the players to realise that. Other clubs have more to look back on, but this is the best time this club has known and 50 years down the line, I want these players to be the reference point; something to inspire the future generations.

'It's important they realise what they are doing for this club. Last week was the first time we had beaten Manchester United. It was the first time we had even taken a point off them. We have international players and I want them to take pride in playing for Wigan Athletic. I want them to understand what they mean to the supporters. I don't want people coming here just to use Wigan as a vehicle into the Premier League.'

Martinez has his own history with the club and has surrounded himself with similar individuals. Graham Barrow was the manager when a 22-year-old Martinez joined in 1995 and he is now a member of the coaching staff, while one-time 'golden boot winner' Graeme Jones is his assistant.

'I want people who understand this club,' says Martinez. 'As a manager you need to run a football club as if you are going to be here for 100 years. You need to lay foundations for the people who follow you.

'Many decisions I'm making now I may not enjoy the benefit of. I hate going into a place where you need to start from scratch. It shouldn't be like that. A manager cannot be in a place forever. It is impossible. But I would like to think that at Swansea, I put things in place that have allowed the club to grow stronger. I don't believe in short-term success.'

Martinez is sitting behind his desk in an office that the majority of his Premier League contemporaries would probably liken to a broom cupboard. 'But now we own the land, the training ground is going to be developed,' he says with a real sense of excitement.

He does have a rather smart espresso machine, not dissimilar to the one Carlo Ancelotti had installed in the manager's office at Chelsea's Cobham training ground, but it would be interesting to know how many top managers have the kind of facility Martinez now has at his own home.

It is there, it seems, in a state-of-the-art cinema room, that much of Martinez's work is done; there where he came up with a system for his team that has enabled them to conquer United and Arsenal, lifting Wigan out of the bottom three.

He will watch the recording of a Wigan match as many as 10 times, particularly when they lose. He says he cannot move on until he is satisfied that he understands exactly why they lost.

'I have all the facilities at home,' he says.

'I have a 60-inch pen-touch screen that allows you to write on it. You link it to your computer so it becomes a 60-inch computer screen really and you can use the ProZone software with it.

'My wife was delighted when I had it installed, but she understands that I need that space and time to be able to come back to being myself. Once I find a solution, I'm fine.

'You learn more from defeats. You see how players react to situations. I don't see it as work. I see being a football manager as a way to live. The moment you feel you need a day off, you are in the wrong business.'

It was during the hours of analysis, during what proved a particularly difficult first few months of the season, that Martinez arrived at the 3-4-3 formation which is working so well for his team.

'It probably took until November to get there,' he says.

'We lost two very important players in Tom Cleverley and Charles N'Zogbia last summer and we were struggling to create goalscoring opportunities. But we now play a system that is designed to get the best out of our players. It's a system that has been made here to play the best we can with the players we have.

'I did something similar at Swansea. Everyone played 4-4-2 but we couldn't compete like that with the budget restrictions we had. So we started with 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3, and it gave us a lot of success.

'Here we are now very well balanced. We are organised defensively and we are creating opportunities. It's not a case of the players adapting to a system. It's adapting to a system that suits our players.

'It helps that we have a very young group. It might lack experience but it has real energy. We also went to Anfield and won the game. We went to Chelsea and really we beat them. We are very flexible. We have been working so much in the past two-and-a-half years, tactically, and we can adapt to the demands of different games against different teams. We focus on the small details and see how we can make strong partnerships on the pitch. That's how you arrive at a system that works.'

Off the field, too, this 38-year-old manager seems to have a system that works. Martinez is an intelligent guy. He studied and qualified as a physiotherapist when still in Spain and continued his studies once he arrived at Wigan, gaining a post-graduate diploma in business and marketing at Manchester University.

In his role as a manager he puts both to good use. 'I was always interested in trying to understand the business side of football so I went to university in Manchester a year after I arrived at Wigan to play,' he says. 'I enjoyed it and I also did it to develop a better understanding of English. I wanted to be able to think in English, instead of having to translate in my head all the time.

'The physiotherapy was more a promise to my mother. There was no guarantee I was going to earn a living in football and she wanted me to have an alternative.

'I was six months into doing my hospital hours when I moved to England. But it really helped me to understand my body when I was playing and to understand injuries and how the body can recover. I was never injured for more than nine weeks in 16 years of professional football.

'I've always been fascinated by different techniques and I look at what the best physios in the world are doing. I love that side of football. Injury prevention. Maximising physical ability. The treatment of injuries. I always believe every injury can be avoided. That's my starting point and my staff believe the same.

'You get accidents in football, collisions that cause injuries that can't be avoided. But even then if your body is right it will react quicker to the treatment and recover faster. I don't believe in soft-tissue injuries. If you get a soft-tissue injury in football, a mistake has been made. It could be the training programme, a lifestyle problem. Whatever it is, it will be a mistake.

'At this club we are below the average for injuries in the Premier League. It's important. It helps.'

It also helps that Martinez has such a strong bond with his chairman. Dave Whelan can occasionally appear a little too candid, as he was in the wake of a recent defeat to Swansea when he said he would be talking to his manager on the Monday morning.

But Martinez meets Whelan almost every Monday and there is a mutual respect and loyalty. This has been evident when Wigan have flirted dangerously with relegation and when Martinez turned down the opportunity to become Aston Villa's manager last summer.

'I have a huge admiration for the chairman,' he says. 'When I arrived here the first time in 1995 he said he would do three things and he has delivered.

'He said he would build a 20,000 all-seater stadium, that we would be in the Premier League in 10 years and that he was in this for the long-term.

'He was very much involved in my arrival here. He opened five JJB stores in Spain and the general manager of those five shops was based in Zaragoza, where I had been playing, and everything came through that.

'The chairman was looking to inject a bit of flair into the team and I was one of three Spanish players he brought over. Once we arrived in Wigan he treated the three of us like sons. He opened the doors of his house. It was an incredible experience.

'I had the pleasure of playing for six years with him and I could see what the club meant to him. When he offered me the opportunity to become the manager, he said, "Whatever happens you are going to get three years of work. If you get relegated it's my mistake for appointing you but you'll have to get us out of the division if we do go down".

'When someone says something like that, and they are as supportive and as loyal as they are, you can't walk away after two years. It would have been wrong to go to Aston Villa.

'It was not a football decision. It was a human decision. It was my turn to show loyalty and support. And the manager should leave only when he feels the football club needs a new manager.'

Right now that would not appear to be the situation at Wigan.

http://www.dailymail...ook-season.html

4

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Great bloke, and promising manager.

We really need to go back when he's ready to leave Wigan. Providing they're not in a division above us.

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dont get the hype

he has bought pretty poorly since he's been there bar a few exceptions

they always seem to get battered for the majority of the season then finally wake up when there's 10 games left, smh

and he tries to play a style of football that doesn't (imo) make the best use of his team

mediocre manager tbh, credit has to go to Whelan for putting soo much faith in him and keeping him in a job

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How is he average? Since he's been there he's lost Valencia, Cattermole, N'Zogbia and Bramble for about £35m.

He's brought in the likes of Gomez, Moses, Maloney, Diame, Di Santo, McCarthur, McCarthy and Caldwell who have all been cornerstones of his side. They cost about £12m between them.

His record signing is Diame at £3.3m.

Compare that with some of the budgets around him. Wolves, Blackburn, QPR and Bolton below him and Villa, Stoke and West Brom above him, spent absolutely loads in comparison over the same timeframe.

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If Harry leaves

Tottenham should go for Martinez IMO (realistic/tactically astute/his teams play very good football)

The Best coach Wigan have ever had despite Whelan cutting the transfer budget

Martinez spend peanuts compared to what Bruce had

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Would have been interesting to see what would have happened if he accepted the Villa approach.

Kind of disappointed that never happned.

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I agree with fanta to an extent. His team has been getting pumped week in, week out for the past 3/4 years and narrowly avoiding relegation by stirring up in the last few games of the season. IMO that's not good management. He should be able to motivate them all year round.

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How is he average? Since he's been there he's lost Valencia, Cattermole, N'Zogbia and Bramble for about £35m.

He's brought in the likes of Gomez, Moses, Maloney, Diame, Di Santo, McCarthur, McCarthy and Caldwell who have all been cornerstones of his side. They cost about £12m between them.

His record signing is Diame at £3.3m.

Compare that with some of the budgets around him. Wolves, Blackburn, QPR and Bolton below him and Villa, Stoke and West Brom above him, spent absolutely loads in comparison over the same timeframe.

with the exception of Maloney & Diame most of those buys have been pretty average for the time they've been at Wigan

Caldwell was playing very poorly last season, he was probs one of Wigans worst players, somehow he's looked quicked playing a back 3 then he did in a 4 which is odd :/

Di Santo before his first goal this season had scored something like 1 goal in 50 matches or summat? didn't he go on loan to West Ham and was a complete flop?

Connor Sammon has been a total flop, so has Beausejour oh and Jordi Gomez has looked one pace and pretty lethargic ever since his move from Swansea, obviously some of that time he has spent injured, but he's been very disappointing r either since he came over from Swansea

i guess if you're looking at him as a replacement for McLeish then yeah i get you in your praise. but i think you have to get things into perspective

Wigan are where they are season in season out for a reason, 2 back to back wins don't change that

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Now he's got his team playing 3-4-3 >

I would take him when harry leaves

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ignore fanta

told people about him already

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thats the problem with this room and football in general

if your not adding to chorus of cheers your branded as some sort of whack job that doesn't know what he's talking about :lol:

i watch football and form my opinions

i have always said that Martinez plays Wigan into trouble every season by trying to play a brand of football that he's players quite clearly aren't capable of delivering, somehow they've managed to pull it off towards the end of season, but that still doesn't distract from the fact they've been absolutely poor for the large majority of the season and deserve to be where they are

don't listen to me if you like but i'm not swallowing (nohomo) all this "Martinez what a great manager" talk

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somehow? if you read the article it explains why they've had their woes this season

and JJ summed it up perfectly

stupid opinion

in my opinion of course

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Martinez obviously took your advise mate, Winning all the time is boring ttkk

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i replied to JJ's post, didn't waste my time reading the article

dont give 2 fucks what you think of my opinion tbh

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didn't waste my time reading the article

lol

*puts on ignore list*

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didn't waste my time reading the article

lol

*puts on ignore list*

:rofl:

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Its a valid question that why did it take till November to find a system? Cleverly was never there's, N'Zogbia they knew was leaving.

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Its a valid question that why did it take till November to find a system? Cleverly was never there's, N'Zogbia they knew was leaving.

Cool

but like he said he was figuring it out, he studied, learnt and made a new system that suited his players, i don't care whether it took him one month or 5, as long as he keeps the team up, he got there in the end

the performances his team have put in since the latter stages of the season show this, and he actually planned and devised this

and like jj says, compare this with the budgets in and around them and the players and names some of them have got and i think its impossible to think he hasnt done a great job or a good manager (swansea)

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I think he's a good manager, just dunno if he ready for the next step in this country and after beating Man Utd & Arsenal, they lose to Fulham.

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always liked martinez, hope he moves on to better things soon.

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Its a valid question that why did it take till November to find a system? Cleverly was never there's, N'Zogbia they knew was leaving.

Well Wenger hardly had the best of starts after losing two of his best players...

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leavvvvvveeee it

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Its a valid question that why did it take till November to find a system? Cleverly was never there's, N'Zogbia they knew was leaving.

Well Wenger hardly had the best of starts after losing two of his best players...

You really comparing Martinez to Wenger?

:rofl:

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If a 20 year veteran credited with having some of the best contacts in the game at one of the biggest clubs in Europe struggles to evolve his team after losing his two of his best players, I think it's unfair to criticise Martinez for struggling too.

He's given them a fighting chance of staying up, and he's done it on tactical nous as opposed to relying on moments of individual brilliance. His players are shite.

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