Sport Soccer

Monday 23 July 2018

Martinez asks for more time to deliver on his promises

Everton manager Roberto Martinez. Photo: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters
Everton manager Roberto Martinez. Photo: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters

Chris Bascombe

As Roberto Martinez tried to put the distress of a second semi-final defeat of the season into context, it could not be interpreted as anything other than a plea to keep his job.

The danger for Martinez in the aftermath of a cruel FA Cup defeat is that his self-appraisal is more glowing than Everton's supporters, or even his board, are willing to accept.

He has received no assurances from Bill Kenwright and major shareholder Farhad Moshiri, who must now decide who can best turn promise into substance.

"There are signs in the three years I could have earned the opportunity to drive the club forward," insisted Martinez.

His argument is that the feeling of heartbreak at Wembley reflects how expectations have risen. He spoke of inheriting an older team that demanded a shift towards youth that risked inconsistency. He argued that a change of style, promoting courage in possession, will lead to further Wembley visits, regardless of how many league points are squandered.

At his most impassioned, he suggested that, having managed a tight budget for the past three years, he deserved to be given the chance to operate in a different transfer market.

"I just want to believe, with the work I have done for the last three years, there are signs there that we are getting close to challenging for silverware and where Everton should be," he said.

"We developed young players, gave them big roles, and they reacted and showed character, flair and drive in the biggest football arena.

"In the first season, we had the record number of points in the Premier League and, in the second, the experience of Europe. We have not invested money but managed assets."

But he admitted: "We are a big club with big expectations and we have not won silverware for 21 years.

"The introduction of the new shareholder brings a different approach to the new squad. Clearly, at the end of the season we will need to make big moves and make sure we start with a strong team ready to fight and play the way we have to play."

There is merit in much of what Martinez says, but without the results to back him up he has never been so vulnerable.

At Wembley, the dismal first half initially made it seem that he would do well to survive the trip home still in charge.

But the half-time jeers gave way to appreciative applause in response to the transformation and harsh manner of the defeat in injury-time.

Martinez faces a fed-up home crowd against Bournemouth next weekend and the players' response will most likely decide his fate. He has needed results for a while but the team has not delivered.

"There are 12 points to play for. I feel we are a special team. . . we are not in a situation of crisis or chaos, fighting relegation. We are talking of disappointment because we have not the chance to finish high in the table," he said.

Whatever Martinez's fate, Everton will be without their captain. Phil Jagielka is unlikely to play again this season having defied the pain of a hamstring problem at Wembley. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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