Martinez set for European challenge

, 5 June, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent

Roberto Martinez is looking forward to Everton's return to European competition next season and says that he and his players will be ready to meet the challenge they earned with such an impressive 2013-14 campaign.

The Blues have missed out on playing Continental football for the past five seasons but the Spaniard believes that his team is ready psychologically and he will be working in the transfer market and with the club's younger players to assemble a squad that can cope with the extra demands.

I think we are ready for it," Martinez told evertontv. "I do believe that it arrives at the right time. It feels like a real achievement and it's not like we got European qualification through the back door as a consequence of being fortunate.

We worked really hard. We wanted to finish in the top four but we just missed out. But we had the right numbers — 72 points would have guaranteed Champions League in eight out of the last 10 seasons.

So we are very excited and the young players will be looking forward to experiencing that for the first time. The experienced players, I think they are ready to be tested and be part of a very demanding season.

So, all in all, as a football club we are ready to travel around Europe and show how far we can go.

Martinez is well aware of the onus that playing in Europe will bring — there are six guaranteed Europa League fixtures between September and December on top of potential games in the League Cup — but he is relaxed about the added pressure, believing that the Blues will be fine if they prepare in the right way.

I am aware of the demands and I think it's important that we are aware - but that's what we wanted, the manager continues. "We do want to put ourselves under massive pressure in terms of performing week in week out in every competition that we are involved in.

We need to be a team who can cope with those expectations and demands in European football and I have always said that as long as we embrace it, prepare well and give everything we have got, I know that our fans will support us whatever the outcome is.

That's a big advantage we have and it comes as a consequence of a very good season. Now we need to build on that and the best possible way is pushing ourselves even further, and to do that you need the European challenge.

The draw for the Europa League group stages will be made on 29th August, with Everton's first European games in five years scheduled for the middle of September.

Quotes sourced from

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