Roberto Martinez says his Everton squad are playing for places in the last 11 games of the season.
The Blues face Cardiff City at Goodison Park this weekend in the first of back-to-back home games as they seek to move up the Premier League table from the seventh-place position they currently occupy.
“The players are well aware ,” Martinez told evertontv. “There's massive competition for places in the dressing room and we all know we've got six demanding games at Goodison. That's something we really enjoy, playing in front of our fans and making sure everyone is proud of what we do at Everton.
“We've got 33 points to fight for and it's an essential moment of the season.”
Relegation-threatened Cardiff won at fellow strugglers Fulham at the weekend but remain in the bottom three.
And Everton’s Spanish chief insisted his own side’s quest for points is every bit as pressurised at the Welsh outfit's.
“The only game that matters now is Cardiff,” he said. “They are very much in an intense period of their season because of the amount of games left and the number of points they need to achieve their aim.
“We are in the same situation, so it's going to be an intense game. We want that comforting feeling around Goodison again after the disappointment that we had in the cup, but with a real sense of pride and understanding that the players made us proud with their efforts and the character we showed for 70 minutes in a very contested game.
“We need to get back to enjoying our football at Goodison and being together, as we always are.”
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