Roberto Martínez defended Rafael Benítez in the "fact" dispute with Sir Alex Ferguson but Wigan Athletic's manager believes his compatriot cannot be shocked by his treatment at Chelsea as he knew the "unique" pressures before accepting the job.
The Premier League's two Spanish managers meet at Stamford Bridge on Saturday under intense pressure; Martínez to lead Wigan out of the relegation zone and Benítez to arrest a run of four Chelsea matches without a win. The European champions' exit from the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, a draw at Brentford in the FA Cup, a point at Reading and defeat at Newcastle United last weekend has intensified criticism of the latter among Chelsea supporters and renewed doubts over his short-term contract.
Martínez, despite being a staunch ally of the then Liverpool manager when he challenged Ferguson's authority in England, admits sympathy is in short supply for Benítez's predicament at Chelsea. "That's probably the price of being at a club with huge expectations with an incredible group of players and a good investment after winning the Champions League," he said. "I don't think that [pressure] is something strange or something that surprises anyone.
"I have seen Chelsea's games and I must admit I would not be able to explain how they lost points because they have been the better side and have dominated games. That's why I would not have chosen to play Chelsea this weekend because I know they need to get a positive result. They will be focused and we can't catch them off guard."
The Wigan manager denied that he and Benítez are close outside the game. He said: "Maybe you think we are best of friends. He once asked me for £450,000 for Paul Anderson when I was at Swansea and a friend doesn't do that!"
Martínez believes Benítez knew the demands that Roman Abramovich had when he accepted the invitation to replace Roberto Di Matteo in November. He added: "What Rafa is living now at Chelsea is not unique. Look at the history of the managers at the football club and they've all been in the same situation.
"In football the relationship between the manager and the owner is what counts and the basis is established when you meet for the first time. As long as you know where you stand, no manager is going to have a problem with that. Some clubs have a long-term strategy and they want to develop and others just want to win at the weekend. As a manager, as long as you know that at the start of the season you're OK with it. Looking from the outside, it seems the Chelsea manager needs to win on a regular basis and that's a condition of the job. I don't think it's a real shock for any manager that takes that job."