Evolution not revoluton for Everton
Published 07/02/2014 | 14:52
Everton manager Roberto Martinez may have given the club a totally different outlook since arriving in the summer but he insists it is through evolution not revolution.
When he took over from David Moyes, the Spaniard was conscious of not overloading his new charges with a whole load of different concepts from the beginning.
Where his predecessor has struggled at Manchester United, having appeared to have tried to change too much, too quickly, the former Wigan boss and his team have blossomed.
Martinez is quick to credit his squad with the way they have adapted to his ideas but there is no doubt the players have benefited from having freedom without being overburdened by a rigid framework.
And he believes Sunday's opponents Tottenham are also reaping the dividends of a less-regimented style since Tim Sherwood took over from Andre Villas-Boas.
"When you are in a dressing room you can be open-minded or find it difficult to face change," he said.
"Footballers are creatures of habit, they are not open to change too easily.
"Our example is not the norm. You have a group of players very confident in what they do and from day one they have been open about new ideas.
"Slowly you put in little tweaks to make us more diverse and give us more dimensions and the change from week to week depends on how the group reacts to it.
"It was very smooth and in a slow manner, making sure we didn't do it in a drastic way which would become a negative because the last thing I wanted was to lose all the good qualities this dressing room has.
"It has been vital for us experienced players like Leighton Baines and Sylvain Distin extended their contracts and players who have been here for a long time - Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert, Phil Jagielka and Tim Howard - have been influential.
"These players know what it means to play for Everton, they set the direction, and once you have that you have stability to base your work on.
"That has been very important, as well as giving freedom to the youngsters to give us that unknown quantity.
Baines credited Martinez's approach as a major factor in deciding to sign a new four-year contract rather than hold out for a move to United, who tried to sign him in the summer.
That feeling is replicated throughout the squad who have raised their game for the manager and the Toffees boss believes Sherwood has had a similar effect since taking over in December.
"Spurs are one of the teams in form since the new manager came in and they play with a real freedom," he said.
"They got rid of that responsibility of the tension of spending a lot of money in the summer and now it is the opposite.
"They have a very good group of players who come out in games and really express themselves and they are very different in the psychology.
"They enjoy their football and they come out and press high with a real intensity and good energy.
"They are still trying to gel together but they are a dangerous team because I do feel under Tim Sherwood this team is developing.
"It is a learning curve for anyone. As a new manager you have to get to know the players, get to know the partnerships and how strong the way of playing is and that is going to take time.
"The number of positive results in the last few weeks shows they are getting better but I don't think they have peaked.
"They have a phenomenal squad of players and I think people forget that because they haven't fulfilled the expectations they had in the first third of the season.
"One day, whenever it is, if this team clicks they will be as good as it gets in the league."