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

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Roberto Martinez has already set his squad the task of building on this year’s achievements next term.

The Everton manager steered his squad to fifth place and a guaranteed Europa League spot this season, having seen a serious tilt at the top four halted as the campaign reached its crescendo.

Martinez says his playing personnel represents the perfect mix of youth and experience.

Quizzed on his hopes for 2014/15 - and beyond - Martinez explained: “It is making sure we master what we are good at. This season has been very exciting in terms of adopting different ways of doing things and experimenting in many ways.

“The squad is ready to kick on next season and we have a nice balance between the young, brave, arrogant talent and the senior heads with incredible standards. I feel that (mix) could be very special for the next five to six years at our football club.”

The Spaniard believes Europa League football provides a natural and beneficial next test for his ambitious charges.

And he’s fully aware his squad will need to be augmented with additions from the youth ranks and from elsewhere.

He continued: “I feel that European football is a must and that is why we need to concentrate and finish the season really strong. Playing in Europe next season will be the perfect extra test this squad needs. With the support we have at Goodison and away from home, every dream is possible.

“We are all ready as a football club, from the chairman, all through the football club, that if we are in the group stages we will need an extra six or seven players. They are going to come from within from the young players and players who we need to fit into our culture.

“I don’t think the extra demands are a problem at all, it’s not something we should be worried about - the opposite, we need to embrace the new demands.”

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