Wigan boss Roberto Martinez targets last-day victory
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has said his side face another "cup final" at Stoke on 22 May after their dramatic 3-2 win over West Ham.
Wigan's win on Sunday consigned the Hammers to relegation, but boosted the Latics own hopes of avoiding the drop.
Wigan - who are 19th in the table - are one of five teams separated by a point heading into the final round of games.
"We had two cup finals before today," said Martinez. "We've won the first, but there is still another to go."
Wigan have a fighting chance of securing their survival at the Britannia Stadium thanks to Charles N'Zogbia's strike four minutes into injury time on Sunday, which capped the Latics comeback from two goals down to seal a dramatic 3-2 win.
The Hammers needed a victory at the DW Stadium to stand any chance of beating the drop and looked on course to secure this after a brace of headers from Demba Ba had given them a 2-0 half-time lead.
However, N'Zogbia reduced the deficit with a superbly struck free-kick before substitute Conor Sammon slotted in the leveller with 20 minutes to go, setting the scene for the former's last-gasp decider.
The final whistle was met with very different reactions from the two sides, with West Ham devastated but Wigan euphoric.
The victory takes the Latics to 39 points, level with both Birmingham and Blackpool, in 17th and 18th place respectively, and a point worse off than both Blackburn and Wolves.
"What a fantastic game of football," claimed a jubilant Martinez. "The way the game went in the last 20 minutes, with both teams needing to win it was like rolling the years back.
"So many times we use it cheaply, saying what a great game, but that was unique experience and I've never seen anything like it."
The Spaniard admitted he initially feared the worst, but had nothing but praise for the attitude of his players during and after half time.
"In the first half we were a little bit anxious and West Ham started very brightly," he admitted. "In their first attack they got a goal and you think it is going to be one of those days.
"But at half time the reaction from my players was what you hope for. You can imagine there was a feeling of disappointment and frustration but it was a real positive reaction.
"The players have character and are true professionals and we had 45 minutes to put it right."
Martinez made two substitutions at half time, bringing on midfielder Victor Moses and striker Sammon. Both played their part in Wigan's resurgence, notably the latter, who scored the leveller - his first goal in English football since joining from Kilmarnock in February.
"The substitutes showed a real professionalism, they were ready," said Martinez. "It wasn't an easy game to come in to, but they made a great impact.
"I said before the game that this is the strongest moment we have had in the season in terms of form. This is growing every game. It is a shame the season is ending because we need another 20 games to show our real potential."
Sunday's game was reminscent of last season's 3-2 win over Arsenal at the DW Stadium that secured the Latics Premier League safety and was also decided by a late N'Zogbia goal.
"Last season we had a great comeback against Arsenal with a 3-2 win right at the end, but I think today beats that," said Martinez, who also spared a thought for West Ham.
"You have to pay huge credit to West Ham, they started really, really well and were very, very strong," added Martinez. "I don't think they deserve the feeling they have got now with the effort they put in. But this is the cruel side of football.
"Very small margins make a huge difference. That has been the nature of this year's competition."
West Ham boss Avram Grant was visibly dejected after the game, saying it was "the worst day of his footballing life".
It was only to get worse for the Israeli, as it was announced shortly afterwards that he had parted company with the Hammers.