Martinez Eyes Goodison Advantage

by Hamish Dufton
@Everton

Roberto Martinez hopes the advantage of playing at home will help his side overcome Lille and take a significant step towards qualifying for the Europa League knockout rounds.

Everton face the French outfit in match four of Group H but, with the Blues on five points and third-placed Lille on three, a win for the hosts would all but secure their passage to the round of 32.

And, after defeating Wolfsburg in their last European night at Goodison Park, Martinez is confident his charges can pick up all three points on Thursday.

He said: “We really enjoyed our last game at Goodison against Wolfsburg. The two away games have been phenomenal experiences but the idea of playing at Goodison under the floodlights and facing French opposition for the first time in our history is really exciting. 

“In the last two home games in the Premier League we had sell-out crowds, so you can imagine there is a real buzz around Goodison when we play our football. 

“We really look forward to our home games, especially now we know the group inside out. We are looking to make our home an advantage.”

A place in the Champions League awaits the winner of the Europa League this season but Martinez knows that will mean nothing if progression from Group H is not achieved.

He added: “In our case, we don’t look that far. What we are looking at is making sure we play as well as we can in every game that we go into. The start of the season brought little blocks of games and I think we adapted towards that really well.

“I have been very impressed with the manner in which we, as a squad, have faced every game full of energy and desire, and the performances have been really good.
 
“What we want to do is grow into the competition and be as good as we can. The first objective is to try to get through. If we could manage to do that it would be a phenomenal achievement when you look at the teams we had in this group.

“Step by step, we are enjoying the demands of this season but, more importantly, the Europa League has brought a different challenge for the squad and we are starting to get the rewards from that.”

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