Martinez prepares himself for testing end to the campaign

Roberto Martinez is optimistic his Wigan side can repeat their Premier League escape act – but knows there is little margin for error.

Wigan lost 4-1 at Chelsea yesterday and sit 19th in the table, with Martinez insisting the final scoreline was a reflection of his side’s ambition and their bid to find an equaliser at 2-1 down.

While much of the interest was focused on Chelsea, and the futures of Frank Lampard and Rafael Benitez, Wigan’s predicament means they must start to accumulate points sooner rather than later to ensure survival.

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Last season the Latics won once in 14 outings between December and March before winning seven of their last nine games to survive. Martinez’s men have now won once in their last 13 attempts.

“We need to be perfect, we need to be as good as we can,” said Martinez. “It’s a real concern. We haven’t got the points we wanted to have at this stage.

“We’re not looking at the table, we’re looking at the points tally that we want to get at the end of the season. As a football club, we know where we are. We know what we have to do.

“We’re looking forward to facing the challenge head on. We’ve got a really exciting time ahead of us.

“We’re going into the last third of the competition, which is where everything happens.”

Martinez was happy with the performance at Stamford Bridge, particularly Shaun Maloney’s 58th-minute goal, when the Scot rounded Petr Cech and scored from a narrow angle.

“We were brave, we showed what we can do and we’ll take the positives into the next 12 games of the season,” added Martinez, who rued missed chances as his side put Chelsea under pressure as well as the failure to award a second-half penalty for a handball against Ashley Cole.

“The goal we scored was as good a goal as you’ll see,” said the Spaniard. “We were in possession, Chelsea were well set-up, it was a magnificent ball and Shaun finished with a composed finish.”

The decisive moment for Chelsea was Frank Lampard’s 86th-minute strike.

The midfielder again set aside the uncertainty of his future – whether he will extend his 12-year stay beyond the summer – with his 198th Blues goal to move to within four of Bobby Tambling’s club record. Lampard relieved the tension caused by Maloney’s goal, which followed strikes from Ramires and Eden Hazard, before Marko Marin’s stoppage-time fourth.

Benitez believes the availability of more players aided his cause.

Hazard was back from his three-match ban for kicking a ball boy, David Luiz was fit again and impressed in midfield and Cech shrugged off a finger injury to play.