Football - Martinez impressed with Pochettino

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is well aware of Mauricio Pochettino's management credentials and feels the Argentinian has made an encouraging start to life in charge at Southampton.

PA Sport

The Saints' decision last month to sack Nigel Adkins, who guided them to back-to-back promotions over the past two seasons, and replace him with the former Espanyol coach at a time when the south coast outfit was lying 15th in the Barclays Premier League was widely met with bemusement.

But while Adkins' successor might have been little-known to much of the Southampton faithful, he is certainly familiar to Martinez. The Spaniard rates Pochettino's work at Espanyol, where he achieved Primera Division finishes of 10th, 11th, eighth and 14th before leaving in November with them bottom of the table.

And Martinez believes the two performances the 40-year-old has overseen so far at his new club - a 0-0 home draw with Everton and 2-1 defeat at Manchester United - have been promising.

Speaking ahead of Wigan's home league clash with Southampton, Martinez said: "You need to remember with the new manager that he is not involved in (the decision of) changing managers - he is just coming in to do his job.

"He was very impressive at Espanyol. He is well-organised, he has very clear football concepts and he is used to dealing with high-pressure games and with bringing youngsters through. What he did at Espanyol was remarkable and with the way Southampton have been playing in the last two games you can see he has a relationship straight away with his team and that they reflect the way he wants to play."

Martinez was also keen to pay tribute to Adkins' efforts and thinks it has been a commendable season overall for 16th-placed Southampton, who go into Saturday's contest having lost only three times in their last 14 league games.

"I think Nigel Adkins did an incredible job and I'm sure everyone who is connected to Southampton will always appreciate that," he said.

"He achieved two promotions and steadied the group in the new league, so that was a phenomenal job from the outside. We can see with the two performances under the new manager what normally happens - it gives a new start for different players in the squad and the squad gets galvanised.

"But it is also fair to say that after their first few games this season, Southampton showed they were ready and used to the new league. They have been very, very impressive, so we expect a very difficult game."

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