Sunday 26 January 2020

Under-fire Roberto Martinez admits crunch time has arrived for Everton

Roberto Martinez insists the next week has nothing to do with his future at Everton
Roberto Martinez insists the next week has nothing to do with his future at Everton

Carl Markham

Manager Roberto Martinez admits Everton face a pivotal week but not in terms of his future.

The Spaniard is under increasing pressure after a number of disappointing performances, but the next few days could help alleviate that as he has a Merseyside derby at Anfield and then a Wembley FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United.

A growing number of fans are calling for his exit, with banners appearing in the last two matches and one supporter invading the pitch during Saturday's draw at home to Southampton to remonstrate.

The next few days could well have a major bearing on whether those protests continue, but Martinez rejected suggestions his job could be on the line.

"It is a defining week for our season - I wouldn't like to go through this season without a defining week," he said.

"Football is about results and I will never be stupid enough to look away from that aspect.

"The first day I arrived I am the one who brought the expectations, I am the one who drives the hunger and desire to take Everton where we should be competing for silverware and playing attractive football.

"It is about the players enjoying their football and having clarity in what they do and making the fans proud.

"We need our fans more than ever and need to fight every action on the pitch together.

"It is not about the manager, that is the least of my worries."

Everton head to Anfield having not won at the home of their near-neighbours since September 1999.

The proximity of the FA Cup semi-final and a number of injuries complicates Martinez's team selection but he insists they go there looking for victory.

"To be in the semi-final of the FA Cup is an incredible opportunity but that is something we will address after Wednesday," he said.

"The derby is more than a game, it is not just three points it is an opportunity to make our fans proud.

"We are facing a team in a good moment of form."

Martinez is adamant he will not change his style despite criticism it leaves the side prone to too many errors, which have cost them dearly this season.

They are destined to finish the season with their lowest home points tally in their history.

"I don't think it is a case of addressing mistakes. It is a case of coping with expectations," Martinez added.

"All we try to do is play with a way that is going to be very effective which allows us to be a winning team.

"At home our results haven't been good enough and I'll take responsibility for it but away from home we have found the right consistency.

"The finished article would be to take that away form home.

"It is not a question of the style. You have to find solutions and we have to find a way to mirror what we do away from home at home."

PA Media

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