Thursday 18 January 2018

Roberto Martinez hopes fans can help lift Everton to win over Manchester United

Everton manager Roberto Martinez, pictured, is wary of Wayne Rooney's threat ahead of the visit of Manchester United
Everton manager Roberto Martinez, pictured, is wary of Wayne Rooney's threat ahead of the visit of Manchester United

Roberto Martinez wants Everton's fans to roar them on to another home victory against Manchester United on Saturday.

The Toffees have beaten United on the Red Devils' last three visits to Goodison Park, including a stunning 3-0 victory over Louis van Gaal's side in April.

It was the stand-out result of a late-season resurgence that helped Everton finish 11th in the Premier League table.

Martinez's side have picked up where they left off at the start of this campaign and sit seventh going into the weekend, three points below third-placed United.

The Everton boss said: " I think the records and the previous performances and results mean very little. I think what's important is we respect immensely this Manchester United side.

"A couple of weeks back when they hit top spot in the league, in a way that was a real statement of intent.

"We've got another top team coming to Goodison but we want to perform well and be as good as we can to try to get a win. Whoever we face at Goodison, we should be pushing ourselves.

"Goodison probably gets at its very best (against United), and when Goodison pushes you with that energy and that voice, as a player you feel the difference and as a team you feel you can cope with anything that you get in front of you."

Wayne Rooney is set to return to his old stomping ground after recovering from the ankle injury he picked up in United's 3-0 defeat by Arsenal a fortnight ago.

Rooney has a poor record for United at Goodison having scored only two goals in 10 visits since his move to Old Trafford.

The boyhood Everton fan has been on the end of rough treatment from Toffees fans over the years but will be making his first trip to Goodison since he was warmly welcomed following a brief appearance in a blue shirt during Duncan Ferguson's testimonial in the summer.

Rooney has netted just once in the Premier League so far this season, but Martinez is not underestimating the threat posed by the United and England captain.

"I think his contribution is a bit more than just scoring goals," said the Everton boss.

"I would prefer it if Wayne Rooney doesn't play. I think Manchester United are a better team when Wayne Rooney plays. He can dictate things, he's very good in the combination play, he can see that final pass, he can find space.

"Manchester United have got a very settled starting XI and they've become really strong in what they do.

"Obviously the last game against Arsenal, the first half an hour of that performance was a little bit of a hiccup but they've been very strong this season and I expect to have a really tough opposition in front of us.

"I think they've mastered what the manager wants and the quality of the squad is ready to challenge for anything."

Press Association

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