Roberto Martinez calls on critics to judge him on three years, not three months
Everton's under-pressure manager Roberto Martinez has called on his critics to judge him over three years, not three months.
Martinez is fighting for his future on Merseyside, with a talented Toffees squad sitting 11th in the Barclays Premier League table and coming off the back of a disheartening loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final.
The Spaniard accepts dissatisfaction from the fans, who appear to be turning away from him in large numbers, but hopes recent results will not be taken in isolation.
Having led the side to their best Premier League points tally in his first campaign, and lowered the age profile of the squad significantly by consistently trusting young talent, he believes there is enough credit in the bank to save him from the axe.
"Scrutiny I welcome and accept. I understand it completely," he said.
"I always encourage huge expectations and as a football club we have to drive to challenge for silverware and challenge for the top four.
"When we're not, scrutiny needs to be there.
"But it shouldn't be scrutiny of the last two months or three months. It should be of three seasons, scrutiny about the team we've put together.
"The first season we had a record points tally, last season we were the last team in the British game to be knocked out of Europe, this season we made two semi-finals.
"I'm ready to fight more than ever and closer, probably, to finding a way to challenge for silverware."
There is a sense that sections of the club's support are past the point of no return in terms of backing the former Wigan boss, with significant protests apparently planned for Saturday's home game against Bournemouth, but he has not given up on reconciliation.
"The message is we are all in this together," he said.
"It's only when you get through these difficult experiences and painful moments that you get renewed drive.
"I understand their passion. They make us the football club we are, football without passion makes no sense."
Martinez's hopes of a morale-lifting win against the Cherries have not been helped by the latest news from the physio's room.
Phil Jagielka has been ruled out after playing in the FA Cup semi-final despite carrying a hamstring injury.
The England international is likely to miss at least three of Everton's last four games and if he does not take the field again this term question marks would surely be raised over his Euro 2016 place.
Gareth Barry (groin) and Seamus Coleman (hamstring) are also missing, with Ramiro Funes Mori suspended.
"We've picked up a few injuries. Jags got through the semi-final when he had no right to. He's not fully fit and he'll be missing the next few games.
"Gareth Barry is missing, Coleman is missing, Funes Mori is suspended...so it will be a little bit of a weak back four in terms of bodies missing."
Having handed debuts to teenagers Callum Connolly and Tom Davies against Southampton earlier this month, Martinez could yet hand defender Matthew Pennington and highly-rated youth striker Kieran Dowell their chance this weekend.