Rosler replicates Roberto's win
6:25am Monday 10th March 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Wigan boss Uwe Rosler revealed he replicated the FA Cup blueprint which helped Roberto Martinez shock Manchester City at Wembley last year as lightning struck twice in this year's quarter-final at the Etihad Stadium.
The Latics produced one of the competition's great upsets last May when Ben Watson headed them to cup glory under Martinez's rule. Despite both clubs having different managers at the helm this time around, Rosler was astute enough to take a leaf out of his predecessor's book in a 2-1 victory which ruined City's chances of a historic quadruple.
Jordi Gomez and James Perch scored in either half to continue Wigan's love-affair with this competition and although Samir Nasri reduced the deficit, the back three which former City cult-hero Rosler deployed held firm to send the Sky Bet Championship club back to Wembley for a semi-final showdown with Arsenal.
"I started with Roberto's tactic from last season," said Rosler, whose side join Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Barcelona as the only teams to have beaten City at home this season.
"He won the FA Cup by putting out a very brave game-plan and also I saw the league game here (against Wigan last April) where Manchester City won in the last five minutes 1-0 and Roberto's team played periods to perfection.
"I tried to replicate parts of it but bring our own intensity in terms of our pressing, our counter-attacking and the willingness to attack with wing-backs at the far post - like the second goal.
"I felt first half we surprised Manchester City because a lot of teams show Manchester City, deservedly, a lot of respect. I felt if we sat back and just tried to defend and just hoped for the best we would have no chance."
The hosts, seven days on from their Capital One Cup final triumph, were lacklustre in the first period but sparked by Nasri's goal and the introductions of David Silva, James Milner and Edin Dzeko from the bench, they flooded forward in the closing stages of an enthralling cup clash.
They almost grabbed an equaliser too but Wigan captain Emmerson Boyce somehow diverted Dzeko's simple tap-in over the bar with a piece of heroic defending.
"I just saw the block - unbelievable," Rosler noted.
"I'm a big believer that you need match-winners at both ends, not only in the attacking box, but in your own box. That tackle was a match-winning, decisive moment for us.
"Both tackles, the one Perchy had when he scored, and the one Emmerson Boyce had when he denied Dzeko the goal, that has shown the desire and the will-power we have shown today. I can only take my hat off to the players. Emmerson is a symbol of that, not only today but since I've worked in the club."
City now head to Barcelona in the Champions League hoping to overturn a two-goal deficit and facing the very-real prospect of being eliminated from two competitions in the space of four days.
"I think it's the worst first half we've had in the year because we didn't have the pace to play against a team that is in a good moment," said boss Manuel Pellegrini.
"They won five games in a row so we knew before the match we are going to play a difficult team, maybe we thought that was not going to be so difficult and when we react it was too late."
Wigan's disciplined formation saw a bank of four stifle any space in front of their back three which left the likes of Nasri, usually so efficient between the lines, frustrated, which the Frenchman showcased when he was booked for kicking the ball away in anger.
Pellegrini, though, was adamant the FA Cup holders had not stunned him and his players with the way they approached the contest.
"We knew exactly how Wigan play; it's not a tactical problem, it was a pace problem, a tempo problem," the Chilean added.
"In the last 35 minutes they continue playing the same way and we continue playing the same way. We had at least three of four chances to score more goals. When you don't have the same intensity it's very difficult to win."