Martinez urges Toffees to focus on silverware
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has urged his players to create some memories to look back on with another cup run. Having lost the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final at Manchester City in midweek, the FA Cup is their only realistic chance of success this season as poor league form has left them 12th and an almost insurmountable 13 points adrift of the top four.
Today's trip to League Two Carlisle is potentially tricky and while it may be stretching it to suggest progress to the fifth round would save their season, it is a game they have to win to lift the mood around Goodison Park.
"As a player you don't look back and try to get memories from halfway through the season," said Martinez, whose side have won just six times in the league this season.
"It is what you achieve and what you build in a career.
"We have shown fantastic signs and great performances but it is something we need to improve as we are not winning every weekend and that is what we want.
"Our young players are developing in a fast rate, they are taking responsibility and developing into top players and in the team in general we have good options and we need to become better.
"What is important in the stats is how close we have been to those results being very different.
"Looking into the stats there have been only two defeats away from home all season and we are getting close to being very consistent.
"Many of the draws have been close to victories.
"We need to make sure we use all the pain we had on Wednesday to become as good as we can be for the rest of the season. I am convinced we will get the rewards if we apply ourselves in those small margins."
Martinez will not take too many risks with his starting line-up at Carlisle but after a busy January he may have to give some players a well-earned rest.
"There will be no changes for the sake of it," he said.
"Certain players have been picking up knocks and niggles in recent weeks so we have to use our players well but it is a vitally-important game for us on Sunday.
"James McCarthy had a good reaction after playing 35 minutes (against City, only his second appearance since November) and Steven Pienaar will be fully recovered (having been an unused substitute at the Etihad).
"Seamus Coleman has had two introductions into match fitness but Kevin Mirallas will have a late fitness test.
"(Goalkeeper) Joel Robles will play. He has been playing in cups and that has always been the plan."
It appears unlikely Martinez will be adding to his squad before the end of tomorrow's transfer deadline in an attempt to drag them out of a current malaise which has seen them win just once in the last 10 league matches.
But Ireland midfielders Darron Gibson and Aiden McGeady could both leave on loan after hardly featuring this season.
"It is impossible for me to tell (about signings)," said the Toffees boss. "The window is open until Monday 11pm and we will keep our options open. We all know we have to use the window in our favour but it is not a period we need to find solutions. The squad is large and talented enough to find solutions internally."
Carlisle Utd v Everton BT Sport 2, 1.30
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