Wednesday 22 November 2017

Martinez vows Everton will be top-four club if he's given time

Tim Rich

The statement that he would take Everton where David Moyes could not – into the Champions League – may have been a reckless hostage to fortune. However, Roberto Martinez insisted his managerial record gave the promise validity.

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, with whom the 39-year-old has signed a four-year contract, revealed that the first words Martinez said to him when he was interviewed to succeed Moyes as Everton manager were: "I will get you into the Champions League."

Given that Moyes only once achieved a top-four finish, and then failed to qualify for the competition proper, it was quite an opening gambit. Moyes' first words to his chairman in the grim March of 2002 were: "You will not be relegated."

"I do feel you should have a dream in football," said Martinez. "I started at Swansea and I always said we needed to get the club into the Premier League. That sounded obscene when we were in League One. Then, I went to Wigan and said the aim should be European football."

By winning the FA Cup in extraordinary circumstances, European football is precisely the legacy Martinez has left behind at Wigan. However, Kenwright acknowledged that the fact that Wigan were also relegated was a factor that had to be addressed.

FLINCH

"Roberto doesn't flinch from those questions," said Kenwright. "He told me that, had he had his first-choice back-four for the whole season, Wigan would have been top 10.

"Part of my other job – as a theatrical impresario – is recognising talent and he is an enormous talent."

Martinez argued that he should be judged over the course of his time at the DW Stadium. "I hope it would be about more than one season," he said. "You don't get a job just by winning the FA Cup and you should not be discounted because you have been relegated. What has been achieved off the field in particular at Wigan, has been remarkable."

Over the past couple of years, Martinez could have had his pick of big clubs. He turned down Aston Villa and this time last year he was in Miami, talking to Liverpool about succeeding Kenny Dalglish.

"We had conversations but the job was not right for them or for me," is what he said about what was offered from Anfield, but part of the attraction of Everton is that he will be given time.

"With time you can achieve anything," said Martinez, who in his four years at Wigan reduced the wage bill by almost a quarter. "We do not have the money of other competing clubs (Everton's turnover is half of Liverpool's) but we do have an incredible platform that David Moyes has created." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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