Martinez hails Whelan relationship

  • Last Updated: October 19 2012, 13:29 BST

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has described his relationship with chairman Dave Whelan as the club's biggest strength ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to his former side Swansea.

Roberto Martinez and Dave Whelan are all smiles.

Martinez left the Swans for Wigan in June 2009 and his position has largely appeared secure over the last three years despite the Latics' frequent battles against relegation.

But Whelan publicly criticised Martinez in March after a home defeat by Swansea, describing it as the worst performance for four or five years and questioning his manager's team selection.

The chairman's announcement that he would be having a meeting with his manager led to fevered speculation that the Spaniard was fighting for his job, but Martinez insists that was never the case.

He said: "My relationship with the chairman never changes. Probably that's the biggest strength that we've got in the football club.

"My chairman is a football man, he knows what happens during a football season. Probably that moment went out of context because everyone expected a Monday meeting between the chairman and the manager, something we do every week, so for me it wasn't a change.

"Probably from the outside he gave a perception that it was completely different. We're here to win football games, to make sure the players enjoy their football and to progress as a club, and that will never change."

Wigan were hot favourites for relegation following that defeat but went on to win seven of their last 11 games to engineer another dramatic escape.

Although the stakes are not as high for this meeting, both clubs could do with a win after fading following good starts to the season, with neither registering a victory since August.

It will be Martinez's third return to the Liberty Stadium since leaving three years ago, a decision for which he has not been forgiven by some Swansea fans, but the Spaniard believes the personal element is far superseded by the quest for points.

He said: "The game is so important for both clubs. We are both in the league that we want to be, these are fantastic times for both clubs.

"After a great start to the season, we both find ourselves in a situation where we need the points, we both need good performances. I don't think the individual links are important any more, it's just the importance of the game."

After starting life in south Wales with two big wins, Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has endured a difficult few weeks.

The winless run has included defeats by Aston Villa, Everton and Stoke and a draw with struggling Reading, while yesterday Laudrup was forced to deny reports of dressing room unrest.

The Dane received support from one of his predecessors, though, who expects Swansea to have another good season.

Martinez said: "Any game at the Liberty Stadium is very tough because Swansea are good at what they do. The way they treat the ball, the way they control games and keep possession, it's very difficult for the opposing side.

"The first three games they were a joy to watch and a real attacking threat. I don't think much has changed, they had a couple of injuries, a couple of suspensions, and that affected a little bit their results, but they haven't changed as a team.

"I think Michael Laudrup is very clear in what he wants to do, he brought in players that had an impact straight away, and that group of players is getting ready to have a very good season.

"I don't see it as the right time to play them, it's a moment of need, both teams are in a similar situation and it's going to be a really entertaining game because the concepts of both sides are very similar."

Wigan will be without defender Antolin Alcaraz and winger Albert Crusat, who are continuing their recovery from groin and knee injuries respectively, while Martinez will monitor Maynor Figueroa and Jean Beausejour after their lengthy international trips.

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