Roberto Martinez has warned his players to expect a Manchester City backlash this weekend.
Everton travel to the Etihad Stadium aiming to inflict further misery on Manuel Pellegrini’s side after they were beaten 3-1 at home by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.
The humbling defeat to the German outfit was the Citizens’ second in quick succession following their 3-2 reverse in the Premier League at Villa Park last weekend.
Martinez was asked at his pre-match press conference whether he felt the Toffees could capitalise on City’s recent poor form.
But the Spaniard was adamant that Everton cannot expect any further hangover from the 2011/12 Premier League champions.
Martinez said: “We have to remember that Manchester City are a top, top football club. When you are a top football club you know how to move from result to result and competition to competition without carrying any sort of damage with you.
“I don’t think it was one of those games [versus Bayern Munich] which you can feel hurt by because the quality of the opposition was clear to see. That’s why they are European champions. I don’t think there is any shame to lose against a side like Bayern Munich.
“You feel like they [Manchester City] will want to respond and get back to winning ways so that’s why we will need to be perfect in many ways. We need to be prepared for a real reaction from Manchester City.”
Victory for Everton on Saturday would put a five-point gap between the Blues and Manchester City, who were considered by many bookmakers as this season’s title favourites before a ball was kicked in August.
The Blues’ early-season form has sparked much debate over what can be achieved this term, but Martinez has played down the increasing expectancy levels.
“If the league was to finish on Saturday, I would be happy to look back and assess the season so far,” joked the Spaniard, before adding: “It’s down to us to maintain these results. I thought the first half performance against Newcastle was exceptional and in many ways is what we want for 90 minutes, and that’s our target.
“But to speak about perceptions and achievements is early because we are only six games into the season. That would be foolish.
“We need to maintain the standards, maintain the level of performances and do it over the 38 games in the season.”
Tickets for Saturday's game are sold out - but free live commentary direct from the press box at the Etihad Stadium will be available on evertonfc.com/listenlive from approximately 12.40pm.