Wigan boss Roberto Martinez hopes Jordi Gomez has answered his critics among the Latics fans after his hat-trick earned a much-needed three points from a 3-2 victory over Reading.
The Spaniard was making only his third start of the season in the Barclays Premier League and was jeered early in the game for a few poor touches, but he responded with goals in the 58th and 68th minutes after Sean Morrison had given Reading the lead. The Royals looked to have snatched a point after 80 minutes through an Ali Al Habsi own goal before Gomez struck his third.
The Latics boss said. "Because he missed the first two or three passes, all of a sudden the crowd let him know. I've seen it so many times and it's very difficult to compose yourself, and it would have been all too easy for him to hide and look away from the challenge. But that's not Jordi at all. Nobody deserved a hat-trick more today than him."
He added: "It's not just the three goals, he always shows for the ball, he had another two great opportunities.
"The crowd were too vocal against him and I hope that today they realise that the only thing Jordi does is give his life for Wigan Athletic and to win football games. I hope we all realise that and he gets a bit of warmth the next time he's on the pitch."
In contrast, Al Habsi has been a huge hit since joining Wigan from Bolton in the summer of 2010 and he had made a brilliant flying save from Adam Le Fondre's header moments before his howler.
Martinez was more than happy to forgive his keeper, saying: "Goalkeepers are exposed to that, they're the last men, and it's just Ali doesn't do that, which is why you're so surprised.
"Minutes before he had the save of the game. Internally as a team you should be there to help your team-mate when he makes a bit of an error, which happens, it's a game of errors and you need to be able to overcome whatever situation comes your way.
"Today we showed that type of performance. In the first half we had a little bit of the feeling of something to lose.
"We weren't sharp or as effective as we can be, and to concede from a set-play and allow Ali to have a mistake, I think it was more our approach and our mentality, and we need to change that. But it was pleasing to see the players found a reaction and a way to overcome that."
- Sports & Recreation
- Ali Al Habsi
- Jordi Gomez
- Roberto Martinez