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West Ham (H) Sat 22 Nov 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Martinez On Betis 'Test'

by Hamish Dufton @efchamishdufton

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Roberto Martinez is relishing one final test before the season gets underway next weekend at Norwich City.

The Blues face Europa League participants Real Betis on Sunday in a match that will serve as final preparation for Martinez – who will take charge of his first home fixture since his summer appointment – and his players before they take on the Canaries in their Premier League curtain-raiser.

Speaking to evertontv, Martinez recognised his team will be in for a tough examination from their La Liga opponents, who have enjoyed plenty of success in their tour of England this summer.

“They had a very good season [just gone],” he said. “Betis have a really settled team. Pepe Mel, their manager, has been working really well, always adding different aspects.

“We are going to see a team that works really well as a unit, who press high up and try to get control of the football. They have got some good, creative footballers who can really hurt you.

“All in all it is going to be a very good test. They have been in the UK for 20 days, playing different games, so they will be able to come here used to the physicality of the British teams. It is a good test for us right before the start of the season.”

The only home friendly of pre-season will also give Martinez one final chance to assess his options ahead of the new campaign, but the Spaniard believes his squad are progressing nicely.

“We are still trying to get as much information as we can, seeing how well the players can adapt to certain aspects of the game, how strong the partnerships within the team can be developed – it’s a learning process in that respect,” he added.

“Obviously the closer you get to the start of the season, the more you are starting to fine tune. We want to make sure that we are getting very, very close to being as fit as we can from a physical point of view.

“Then with all the things we have been working on, we want to ensure they are very clear, and make sure we are ready for the campaign to start.”

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