Wigan Athletic made it to Wembley for the first time in as many years against all odds. For a club presently down with relegation battle in the English top tier, victory on Saturday against Roberto Mancini’s side will have them etch their name in the history books.
After conceding the Premier League title defence to Manchester United, Mancini- tutored Manchester City will work tirelessly to have the FA Cup back, after victory in 2011. That makes them a strong favourite for the Cup, but Wigan is the team to beat after stunning Everton 3-0 in the quarterfinals, before ousting Millwall in a tension- soaked last four clash.
City captain Vincent Kompany is aware of the impending danger of losing to an impressive Wigan team, when he sounded his final note of warning to his teammates saying: “We have to be careful.”
Victory over Wigan will give City a third title in three seasons, enough to gear the fans and the team up.
But Wigan manager Roberto Martinez believes his team is not going to Wembley to ‘make up the numbers’ on Saturday. Though underdogs, victory for the Spaniard will be a monumental achievement, after surviving last season’s relegation scare in the league.
However, he has already made history for the Lancashire club by taking them this far.
“We’re not here to make up the numbers. We want to enjoy the day and the achievement of getting here, but the moment the whistle goes it’s a game that we want to win.
“Playing at Wembley stadium is a special moment for any football club, so it’s a great day for Wigan Athletic to be back here again and we must savour our first appearance in an FA Cup final.
“Being in the FA Cup Final is a tremendous achievement but the next step is winning it.
“Finals are only remembered fondly by the winners. We’ve already celebrated getting to the final, and qualifying for Europe, but we’ll only enjoy it if we get a positive result.”
Martinez became the first Spaniard to score in the FA Cup back in 1995. He knows it’s a herculean task to win City who has not won any trophy since the start of the season, after winning the FA Cup and the Premier League last two seasons. When both sides met in the Premier League last week, City emerged winners by a one goal cushion.
“It will be no different for Manchester City. I have huge respect for Roberto Mancini and his team, and what they achieved two seasons ago by winning the FA Cup and then followed up last year by winning the Premier League,” Martinez added.
“It’s not easy to break into the title chasers in the country, so they deserve great credit, especially the manager.
“There are great times ahead for Roberto and Manchester City but I believe that if we play as well as we are capable of, we can give anyone a good game.”