• What They Said

What They Said: Martinez flattered by Liverpool link

ESPN staff
May 13, 2012 « Premier League - Live updates and scores | Chartbeat test »
Roberto Martinez kept Wigan up with a string of eye-catching victories © PA Photos
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Manager Roberto Martinez admits he is happy to be linked to jobs at bigger clubs but insists there is still work to do at Wigan. The latest speculation suggests the Spaniard, who masterminded the Latics' Premier League survival from a seemingly-doomed position and signed off with a 3-2 home win over Wolves, is being considered by Liverpool's owners. "There is another manager in that club [Liverpool], no? When you get stories linking clubs with your players or in this case with a manager, it must be because you have done something right.

"We cannot control speculation and I am not going to lie to you, I like the speculation. I see it as a real compliment. Speculation will follow a team - you get good speculation and bad speculation. The speculation I don't like is when it suggests you are going to lose your job after a couple of defeats. I am proud and happy that the club are attracting a lot of good headlines and stories."

Everton finished above Liverpool in the league after beating Newcastle, but David Moyes was not celebrating: "I just wanted to finish as high up the Premier League table as I could and it didn't really bother me who you finish above.

"I don't think you can celebrate seventh. We have been brought up that you finish in first and maybe, in the Premier League, if you get the Champions League or even if you finish in Europe. If we had finished seventh and got into Europe then I think that would have been worth shouting about."

Wolves caretaker manager Terry Connor will hand over control to new boss Stale Solbakken on Monday and he admitted the game had summed up the relegated side's campaign. "It was a frustrating way to sign off. It encapsulated the whole season and the reason why we have not been able to stay in the league."

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo insisted speculation about his future won't upset the club in the build-up to the Champions League final. He said: "It doesn't matter. It is no problem and there is no news. I am happy. I have had a great time, the players have been magnificent and I will always remember this time whatever happens. I am very relaxed about it and focused on Saturday's game."

Steve Kean refused to be drawn on the agenda of his meeting with Blackburn's owners in India this week after his relegated side finished the season with a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea. "I want to go out and speak with the owners. All the detail that went on last season with the rebuild program will stay within the club and we'll move forward. That's the only task now.

"I'll fly out next week and we'll make sure we continue the talks that we've already had and build the squad, a competitive squad, as quick as we can. I do that every season."

Sir Alex Ferguson was disappointed © PA Photos
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After a strong campaign, Norwich manager Paul Lambert played up Grant Holt's chances of a place in Roy Hodgson's England squad for Euro 2012: "It's been an incredible season for Grant Holt, but I'm sure Roy Hodgson will make his own decision. If you go on the stats, I don't see why he can't (play for England). But you never know until you give someone the opportunity."

Roy Hodgson paid tribute to the West Brom fans during a brief speech on the pitch following the defeat to Arsenal: 'This is a fantastic football club with a great tradition and even in the rough times, I felt the fans were behind us," he said. "You deserve another year in the Premier League and I would like to thank all the staff and players for their support during this past 15 months."

After avoiding relegation despite yet another defeat, Alex McLeish was in no mood to mince his words. He said: "It was an absolutely shocking, woeful display. Maybe some of the boys were thinking about their holidays already.

"That team needs a change and there will be change. That wasn't an Alex McLeish team today. We need to bring more quality into the squad. I take [the fans' booing] on my shoulders for the sake of the players, I agree with the fans' frustration about our display.

"I'm expecting the board to back me. I have no reason to think I won't be [Villa manager next season]. We've got through a really tough season. I've won lots of trophies as a player and manager and I haven't turned into a bad manager overnight."

Fulham boss Martin Jol felt his side could have done better against his former club, as the Cottagers lost 2-0 to Tottenham. "If you concede a goal after 90 seconds it is always difficult, you make it difficult for yourselves.

"We know that if you come to a place like White Hart Lane you have to play with flair and not be intimidated. In the first half an hour they were better, stronger and sharper and had everything to play for.

"We created a few chances and then they scored again after a bad clearance and that is exactly what you shouldn't do."

Bolton were relegated after their draw with Stoke City, but Potters boss Tony Pulis was unrepentant. He said: "We had a responsibility today to everybody in the Premiership to give it our best and that's what we've done.

"I thought we were quite comfortable first 25 minutes, really should have been more than one goal up and then, well all the goals were a little bit bizarre. But their two goals, I felt when they scored the second one, when that went in in the corner, I really did come in at half-time and think 'well the gods are with Bolton'.

"But the four goals are all, you look at them, and they're unusual goals."

Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers was delighted to end the season with victory over Liverpool. He said: "It has been a fairytale and what an end to the season. The players did brilliantly, their pressing and work-rate was phenomenal.

"Everyone associates us with our passing, movement and creativity, but behind it there is a real hunger to get the ball back and the hunger was incredible today."

Martin O'Neill felt for Sir Alex Ferguson after Manchester United were denied the title despite beating Sunderland. He noted: "It is so traumatic it's untrue. You think throughout the whole season when you might have scored a couple of extra goals, maybe you start to think that there were one or two matches where you've made substitutions where you were leading quite comfortably in the game.

"I'm sure those thoughts are going through Sir Alex's mind. He's won enough championships to be able to consign this to history."

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