Saturday 22 October 2016

Everton boss Martinez wants focus on task at hand

Published 03/10/2015 | 13:06

Everton boss Roberto Martinez hopes to celebrate his first Merseyside derby victory on Sunday
Everton boss Roberto Martinez hopes to celebrate his first Merseyside derby victory on Sunday

Roberto Martinez wants Everton to go into Sunday's Merseyside derby focused on trying to emulate their impressive last home outing rather than thinking about their recent lack of victories over Liverpool.

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The Toffees have won only one of their previous 17 Premier League meetings with Liverpool, with that triumph coming in 2010.

Martinez has acknowledged the importance of his Everton side getting a win against the Reds at Goodison Park on Sunday, but feels thoughts of the record between the clubs over the past few years should not be weighing on his players' minds.

Instead, he is calling for concentration on attempting to build on what they achieved the last time they played at their own ground, when they defeated champions Chelsea 3-1 on September 12.

"Obviously, you can look at the stats over the years," Martinez said.

"But I don't think we should really look into anything further than just (trying to create) a really good home game.

"Our last home game was probably one where we set the standards in many aspects - the way we started, the way we performed throughout, the atmosphere, the way the fans created a perfect environment for us to play football.

"We haven't been that successful in the last 17 fixtures in the derby, but I don't think that is something we are going to take into Sunday's game.

"It is about how good we can be and how much we can create a special atmosphere like we did in the previous home game."

While the visitors, with Steven Gerrard now departed, look set to have no Liverpudlian players on show on Sunday, Everton are likely to have local representation on the field in the in-form Ross Barkley, plus, possibly, defender Tyias Browning.

Martinez has no doubt the fixture is extra special for the likes of midfielder Barkley, but has also emphasised it means a lot to all Everton players - and that it is important cool heads are kept within the squad.

Asked about the significance of having a local lad in his group, Spaniard Martinez said: "I think it is important to have good players enjoying their moment, and the nationality or where they were born doesn't matter - it is about how much you love your football club.

"But I do think growing up and having that dream of playing in, performing in and scoring in a derby in front of your fans has an extra significance.

"Obviously we have our own examples in the dressing room and there is nothing better than achieving a moment in football that has been building in your head since you were a child."

Then asked if he had had to rein in Barkley at all during the build-up, Martinez said: "No - I think the kit men are more the ones you have to keep an eye on because they get really excited, with hundreds of stories to tell you about derby days!

"I think the players are very much focused. You have to make sure you keep calm and are ready to help the team."

Everton defenders John Stones (knee) and Seamus Coleman (hamstring) face late fitness tests ahead of Sunday's game.

Midfielder Muhamed Besic (hamstring) is not expected to be available, while winger Kevin Mirallas is still suspended.

Press Association

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