Martines hails superb Robles

  • Last Updated: January 27 2013, 13:21 GMT

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez praised new goalkeeper Joel Robles after he impressed on his club debut in Saturday's hard-fought FA Cup fourth-round win over Macclesfield.

Roberto Martinez: Praised Robles
Roberto Martinez: Praised Robles

Robles, who joined the Latics on loan until the end of the season from Atletico Madrid last week, kept a clean sheet despite almost constant bombardment from Macclesfield in the second half as Wigan triumphed 1-0.

The 6ft 5in keeper will now compete with Ali Al Habsi and Mike Pollitt for a regular starting berth in the Barclays Premier League, with yesterday's performance only helping to stake his claim.

Martinez said: "I thought he did really well. It doesn't get more challenging maybe than making your debut in the FA Cup fourth round away from home.

"I thought he was superb. He didn't get caught by the event. He communicated well and his decision-making and distribution was outstanding.

"I think we saw a couple of flashes of the phenomenal goalkeeper that he is and we are delighted to give him this sort of welcome to the English game."

Robles, 22, made 13 appearances last season on a loan spell at Rayo Vallecano as well as featuring twice for Atletico.

Away from the cup, Martinez is now looking ahead to a busy week which sees the Latics return to Premier League action against Stoke on Tuesday before hosting Southampton at the weekend.

Wigan are currently second bottom in the league standings, above only QPR, and Martinez hopes to harness the success in the FA Cup and use it as inspiration for the forthcoming games.

"Unfortunately, we haven't had as many fit players as we would have wanted but there is a really good feeling in the squad - ready to face any adversity and we are ready to face the next two games," Martinez said.

"We have got a very busy week - Stoke and Southampton are two very important games - and it's important we get this clean sheet, this win and get into the next round. We can only be positive going into the next game."

The Spaniard also denied cup competitions are an unwelcome distraction when Premier League survival is his main aim.

He said: "As a football club you should be able to compete in it (the FA Cup) and I've used the whole squad. That has always been the process over the last few years.

"The first year we couldn't compete on the pitch but that's progress behind the scenes.

"This cup competition is the best cup competition in the world but, for us, the Premier League is like playing in the FA Cup final every weekend and we shouldn't forget that.

"It's not about making changes - it's about having really high standards so you can bring through youngsters and go into any football game knowing how you are going to win and showing how you are going to win with a full group of players, and that pleases me."

Macclesfield boss Steve King is also turning his attention to securing promotion from the Blue Square Bet Premier League following the end of his side's cup run.

The Silkmen face Ebbsfleet on Friday and, according to King, Macclesfield - who are currently 10th in the standings - should be able to transfer their battling performance against top-flight opposition to win against the side at the foot of the table.

"To play against a Premier League club with millions of pounds of talent and to hold our own, dominate the whole of the second half without that final fit in the box is something," King said.

"I said to the boys there is no point in serving up something like that and in the games against Swindon and Cardiff and then losing to someone at the bottom of the league.

"There's a group of players there that is able to get to those play-offs. If we don't get to the play-offs we have underachieved as a group."


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