Martinez admits Blues will need “perfect finish”

, 29 March, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent
Boss believes his team is poised for strong run-in

Roberto Martinez says that the combination of youth and his policy of rotating his forward players in recent weeks to keep them fresh has his Everton side ready to finish the season strongly.

Though he has a points target in mind, the Catalan acknowledges that his team will need to win the majority, if not all, of their remaining eight fixtures if they are to squeeze into the top four but he is excited about the possibility.

The Blues' push into the top five of the Premier League after 30 games, coupled with instability at Tottenham and the crisis at Manchester United has Martinez convinced that the days of a predictable top four are over.

And while the prospect of him being able to lead Everton into the promised land of the Champions League in his first season looked remote just a few weeks ago, four consecutive wins have them breathing down Arsenal's necks heading down the "home straight" of the 2013/14 campaign.

He attributes the openness of the League this year to a change in approach by teams taking on that established core elite of clubs who have held a vice grip on the top places in recent seasons.

“I think that's the case because of the way the teams approach games now,” Martinez says in The Telegraph.

“A few years back against a top-four side you'd have teams maybe thinking of a clean sheet, keeping it tight and maybe trying to score from a dead-ball situation or win in the last 10 minutes. That's changed. I think teams just try to win — that's why the league has gone so open and that will carry on happening.

“Over the course of a season the teams with the biggest squads and budgets become more consistent but in a one-off anyone can beat anyone. That's why it's different to others around world. You will get that every year now.”

When it comes to his own side's challenge, Martinez feels that everything has come together well for the final charge.

"As a manager you know if the season is getting a bit too long for you or when you're in a great moment and would love another 15 games, not just another eight. The way we planned this season was to finish the last 10 really strong from a physical point of view. I feel everyone is refreshed.

"I've tried to keep all the forward players fresh and in a good frame of mind, and think the young players have given us that unknown quantity.

"Having John Stones and Ross Barkley playing the way they've done, Gerard Deulofeu in that kind of form, we're starting to get a very strong young team with a lot of energy. That's why we're excited about having a strong run."

Martinez knows that a strong run is precisely what Everton need if they are to upset Arsenal's apple cart and edge them for the fourth place but he is optimistic.

"We need a perfect finish," her continues. "The big advantage we have is an extra game on the others, which makes a big difference, and we've got City, United and Arsenal at home. That doesn't mean anything but if you're going to face these teams in the final third of the season you want to face them at home.

We're just focusing on that and I still think if you get a certain amount of points [71] you've got a good chance of getting into the Champions League. I do feel if we finish strongly we'll have a great opportunity to do something special."

Other quotes sourced from The Guardian

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