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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League


Roberto Martinez is urging his players to cast aside the disappointment of Saturday’s FA Cup defeat to Arsenal and make a final push in the league during the finishing stretch of the season.

Everton have 11 Premier League matches remaining to secure a top six position and, with it, European qualification for 2014/15.

The Blues now have back-to-back home games at Goodison, with Cardiff City and Swansea City visiting Merseyside over the next two weekends.
“It’s an important time in our season,” Martinez told evertontv. “We can focus on the league and we have 33 points to fight for.

“Once we get the Crystal Palace game rearranged there will be six fixtures at home, so it’s an important moment in our campaign.

“We have to make sure we finish as strong as we can.”

Meanwhile, Martinez has been encouraged by Romelu Lukaku’s form since returning from the ankle injury which kept him sidelined throughout February.

The Belgian netted the winner against West Ham last week and was again on the scoresheet at the Emirates.

Lukaku has now scored 11 goals for Everton this season.

Martinez continued: “For any striker to get goals it’s important. It’s a real boost to his confidence and he is a very important player in our team.

“It’s great to see him working so hard for the side. To get the rewards is very much a welcome sign.”

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