• Premier League

Martinez acknowledges hardest ever relegation fight

ESPN staff
March 16, 2013
Wigan are fighting to stay up © PA Photos

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez believes this season's relegation dog-fight is the toughest he has ever faced.

Wigan currently sit inside the Premier League drop zone, currently 18th spot on the table, but are only three points, albeit on goal difference, from safety.

But despite the dangerous scenario, Martinez is confident there will be more twists and turns to come, culminating in another dramatic finish to the season.

"The teams in the bottom three I don't think are going to stay there: There will be other teams involved and it will go down to the final day once more," Martinez said. "Year after year that fight becomes harder because teams are more prepared and stronger to cope with the demands in that final push.

"I do see it as the strongest fight out of the last four I've been involved."

However, like many club at this stage of the season, Wigan have been forced to deal with injuries to key personnel - Japanese international Ryo Miyaichi the latest victim ahead of the clash with Newcastle on Sunday.

And Martinez believes this season's high attrition rate could be the fault of England's changeable weather.

"Don't get me wrong, football in general gets more demanding physically, that is clearly the way the game is developing," the Spaniard said. "The more technology in sports science means you create better athletes but I think the weather and rain we had this summer has created difficult surfaces to play and train on.

"It would be interesting to find out how many injuries clubs throughout the leagues have had compared to last year because the number has been much higher.

"I don't think the physicality of the league has anything to do with that."

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