Roberto Martínez never really believed FA Cup winners Wigan would be relegated until the Latics' eight-year stay in the Barclays Premier League finally came to an end with a 4-1 defeat at Arsenal.

It was always going to be a big ask for Wigan to lift themselves for such a huge game just 72 hours after their glorious Wembley victory over Manchester City, where anything other than all three points would have seen them join Reading and QPR in the npower Championship, and so it proved.

"I know from the outside you could see it was possible but I never thought for a second it would happen," said the Spaniard, who has been linked with the Everton job following the announcement of David Moyes' switch to Manchester United. "I was confident this team could win the last two games. It is difficult to describe the feelings. It comes as a shock."

Lukas Podolski nodded the Gunners in front on 11 minutes, but Shaun Maloney gave the visitors hope when he crashed home a free-kick on the stroke of half-time.

However, three goals in the space of 10 minutes just after the hour from Theo Walcott, Podolski and Aaron Ramsey meant there was to be no fairytale ending for Martínez's men, despite another brave crack at the great escape.

roberto martinez

Martínez trudges off the pitch after saluting Wigan's travelling fans


Martínez added: "I don't think you get many managers saying they are proud of their players when they get relegated, but we don't deserve to be in the bottom three. You will never see a better group of players than these in the way they play and represent the club.

"The FA Cup is an achievement we will never lose as a club. It is our first silverware, but it is a real shame it happens in the same season as relegation. You don't normally get teams good enough to win the cup going down - that is why it is difficult to take.

"When you walk into the dressing room after this match it is heartbreaking. But we haven't been good enough in the defensive area and that is why we have been relegated."

Martínez, however, insisted the Lancashire club, whose rise to the top flight was bankrolled by chairman Dave Whelan, would be in a strong position to make a swift return.

"It is not one of those moments to be too sad - it is the opposite," he said. "To have eight years at this level is incredible. We have beaten every top club and financially we are in a strong position. As a Wigan fan it is a time to be proud of what we have achieved."

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  • Arsenal v Wigan Athletic - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 14: (L-R) Roberto Martinez the Wigan Athletic manager shakes hands with Arsene Wenger the Arsenal manager at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at Emirates Stadium on May 14, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-WIGAN

    Wigan Athletic's Spanish Manager Roberto Martinez acknowledges the supporters at the end of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at The Emirates Stadium in London on May 14, 2013. Martinez was in a state of shock after Wigan became the first team to win the FA Cup yet be relegated from English football's top-flight in the same season following a 4-1 Premier League loss away to Arsenal. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR “LIVE” SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS. (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-WIGAN

    Wigan Athletic's Spanish Manager Roberto Martinez acknowledges the supporters at the end of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at The Emirates Stadium in London on May 14, 2013. Martinez was in a state of shock after Wigan became the first team to win the FA Cup yet be relegated from English football's top-flight in the same season following a 4-1 Premier League loss away to Arsenal. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR “LIVE” SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS. (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-WIGAN

    Wigan Athletic's Spanish Manager Roberto Martinez leaves the pitch following the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at The Emirates Stadium in London on May 14, 2013. Arsenal won the match 4-1. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR “LIVE” SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS. (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-WIGAN

    Wigan Athletic's Spanish Manager Roberto Martinez reacts during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at The Emirates Stadium in London on May 14, 2013. Arsenal won the match 4-1. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR “LIVE” SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS. (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

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    Wigan Athletic's Roger Espinoza leaves the pitch in dejection at the end of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at The Emirates Stadium in London on May 14, 2013. Arsenal won the match 4-1. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR “LIVE” SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS. (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-WIGAN

    Wigan Athletic's goalkeeper Joel Robles reacts during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at The Emirates Stadium in London on May 14, 2013. Arsenal won the match 4-1. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR “LIVE” SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS. (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v Wigan Athletic - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Wigan Athletic players walk off dejected after being relegated following their defeat in the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at Emirates Stadium on May 14, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v Wigan Athletic - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Wigan Athletic players walk off dejected after being relegated following their defeat in the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at Emirates Stadium on May 14, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v Wigan Athletic - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Roger Espinoza (L) and Emmerson Boyce (R) of Wigan Athletic react at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at Emirates Stadium on May 14, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v Wigan Athletic - Premier League

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  • Arsenal v Wigan Athletic - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Roberto Martinez the Wigan Athletic manager reacts at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at Emirates Stadium on May 14, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v Wigan Athletic - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Roberto Martinez the Wigan Athletic manager reacts at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at Emirates Stadium on May 14, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

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    Arsenal's Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey (C) celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at The Emirates Stadium in London on May 14, 2013. Arsenal won the match 4-1. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live†services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Wigan Athletic - Emirates Stadium

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    Wigan Athletic's Joel Robles stands dejected as his side are relegated after the Barclays Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 14, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire.

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    Wigan Athletic's Manager Roberto Martinez consoles Emmerson Boyce as his side are relegated after the Barclays Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 14, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire.

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Wigan Athletic - Emirates Stadium

    Wigan Athletic's Manager Roberto Martinez applauds the traveling fans as his side are relegated after the Barclays Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 14, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire.

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    Wigan Athletic's Gary Caldwell looks dejected after the final whistle against Arsenal.

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