Martinez remains upbeat despite Palace setback

, 17 April, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent

Roberto Martinez says that Everton remain in a great position and can still finish in the top four based on his belief that Arsenal will drop points over the next four games.

Martinez admitted that last night's surprise defeat to Crystal Palace, his team's first at Goodison Park in 2014, was "hurtful" but he insists that, irrespective of the Gunners' more favourable run-in, being a point off the Champions League places so close to the end of the season offers a great opportunity.

If you were to look at it after the weekend, it's a disappointment. If you look at it at the start of the season, it's a magnificent position, he said after the 3-2 loss.

Fifth and one point behind with a better goal difference is a unique challenge and a unique opportunity. We're excited from that point of view."

The Spaniard said after the match that his side may have felt the pressure from the weight of expectation given that victory over Tony Pulis' much-improved side would have put the Blues in pole position for fourth place.

He was impressed with how his team rallied in the second half and tried to save the game, though, and will use that as a big plus when he lifts the players ahead of Manchester United's visit on Sunday:

It's in our hands and all of a sudden, we start thinking about winning and scoring goals and we left ourselves really open at the back. You don't expect to win a football game if you concede three goals at home.

The way we finished the second half gives me a great encouragement to make sure that we turn the corner on Sunday," he continued.

If it had been the other way around where we started the game well and we ended up with a negative result because we couldn't handle how to play the rest of the game, then that would have been probably a bigger worry.

Everton still have to entertain both Manchester clubs while also make tricky but winnable trips to Southampton and Hull City, while Arsenal also face Hull but their other three games are against struggling West Brom, Norwich and Newcastle.

Nevertheless, with just one point separating the Blues from Arsene Wenger's club and Everton having a better goal difference, it could go right to the wire.

I don't think Arsenal will get full points from now until the end of the season, Martinez said.

I don't think that's the case. When you are one point away from them with goal difference in our favour, it's going to be very much relying on what we do.

I know that you're looking at the table and you think that it is out of our hands. I truly believe that it's going to be in our hands because it's down to how many points we can get from now until the end of the season.

The Toffees' boss also explained James McCarthy's absence from the starting XI last night.

James has been carrying some sort of muscular problem since Saturday and we didn't think he was going to make the squad today.

He would have been a big risk once he made it to play 90 minutes. I'm pleased he played part because that's going to prepare him for Sunday, but he did make a big difference."

Quotes sourced from Liverpool Echo

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