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Football | Barclays Premier League

'Wigan won't force Martinez to stay'

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan admits he won't force Roberto Martinez to stay with the FA Cup winners as they prepare for life outside the Premier League.

Martinez's side were relegated on Tuesday after losing 4-1 to Arsenal and the Latics manager refused to commit his future to the club in the immediate aftermath of the Emirates Stadium defeat.

The Spaniard is a hot property thanks to his team's epic upset against Manchester City in the FA Cup final last week and he is reported to be high on Everton's list of potential replacements for Manchester United-bound David Moyes.

Whelan will have a meeting with Martinez after Wigan's final match of the season against Aston Villa on Sunday to discuss the future and he won't stand in the 39-year-old's way if he wants to leave.

"We'll have a meeting after the final match and he's so honest he will tell me then whether he is staying or going," Whelan said on Wednesday.

"He has had numerous offers. There's clubs bigger than Everton looking at Roberto every season because he's a quality manager.

"We have a partnership, we have complete trust in each other, that's how we operate. Of course we would love him to stay but what he decides I will accept.

"The first season [after relegation] is the one to get back up - the parachute payment is the biggest and we should have the same core of players."

Wigan, back in the second tier for the first time since 2005, have become the first team to win the FA Cup and then be relegated in the same season.

And Whelan admitted the Cup triumph only partially made up for the financial impact of relegation.

"The FA Cup is monumental and historic but to be in the Premier League is so important commercially and financially," he said.

"What made the difference this season is that Lady Luck deserted us. We had the most horrendous luck with injuries - sometimes eight first-choice players out with injury. We accept that overall we were not quite good enough but we also feel hard-done-by."

Whelan felt the damage was done before Tuesday's loss and he claimed he knew they were doomed to the drop following last week's 3-2 home defeat to Swansea.

"The the writing was on the wall when we lost to Swansea at home," he added.

"But it has been a fantastic season and I do think Wigan Athletic have made an awful lot of friends worldwide and not just in the Premier League because of the way we play and our attitude."


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