Thursday 12 December 2019

Roberto Martinez: We want Man City display to be a performance to remember

Carl Markham

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has still not given up hope of sneaking into the Champions League as his side enter the last-chance saloon.

While a point at home to title-chasing Manchester City will guarantee a return to European football next season it would almost certainly end their already-slim top-four challenge.

Arsenal, who play Sunday, are four points ahead with a superior but not insurmountable goal difference advantage but Arsene Wenger's side need to drop four points in their last two matches for Everton to stand a chance of catching them.

The Toffees look like being the unlucky losers as their points tally of 69 would have qualified them for the Champions League in seven of the last 11 seasons.

But that does not mean Martinez is conceding defeat or happy to settle for a point which will secure a Europa League spot.

"We don't look at it that way. We have 69 points and we want to beat that. We don't take it lightly," he said.

"We need six points because I still think 75 points will be very much an exceptional figure, wherever it takes you.

"The only thing you can control in football is what you can do.

"Seventy-five points in the last three seasons would have got you in the top three.

"We are not a team who are happy just to do enough, that is not in our nature.

"We are coming out to perform as well as we can and carry on making everyone proud and looking after our own returns."

City will arrive knowing they almost certainly need all three points to retain their narrow edge over Liverpool in the title race.

But Everton have won their last four matches at home to City and have lost only twice in the league at Goodison Park since December 30 2012.

Martinez takes great confidence from that and wants his side to give the fans a good send off in the final home game of what has been a successful season of transition after the departure of David Moyes last summer.

"This is one of those glamorous games you keep in your memory forever," he added.

"We have been outstanding in the last few fixtures at home and you look at (wins against) similar teams like Arsenal and Manchester United and we need to carry on at the same level.

"It is important we give our fans a proper send off and make it a performance to remember.

"It is a very easy game to approach from our point of view.

"After seeing their (City's) performance at Crystal Palace we know we are going to face a tough team and this team seems ready to finish this season strongly.

"The last home fixture is always a special fixture so in that respect it is very easy - we are fully focused on hosting a really important game.

"It is against a team who are fighting for the title and it will be a phenomenal test and we want to finish really strongly at home."

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