What The Manager Said

Almost a month on from our last home game, Everton return to Goodison Park to welcome Southampton in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.

Ahead of the fixture, manager Roberto Martinez sat down to speak to the media at Finch Farm.

Key Points:

  • Jagielka and Cleverley out, doubts over Lukaku, Lennon, Barkley and Baines; McCarthy suspended
  • Young players likely to be given chance to impress against the Saints
  • Wednesday's Merseyside derby and next Saturday's FA Cup semi-final make this "biggest week" in Everton's season
  • Lukaku and Barkley deserving of PFA Young Player of the Year nominations
  • Game will be different to early-season meeting at St Mary's
  • Niasse being allowed to get used to the "physicality" and demands of the Premier League
  • Blues linked with a summer move for Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick
On who's available for Saturday's game..

On this being the biggest week of Everton's season...

"We're all very much aware of the opportunity you have when you are in the semi-final of the FA Cup, something we need to embrace and enjoy. Our role in the FA Cup has been fantastic so far; we haven't conceded a goal. Now let's concentrate on what we've got in front of us, which is the league, the home form and getting that togetherness with everyone at the football club to try to help every player on the pitch in this specific moment, which is a really, really important moment of our season. Our next three games are games that we all want to be involved in and the games that really matter to make a successful season."


On Lukaku and Barkley being nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award...

"I don't think they've played like young players and that is the more interesting aspect of Romelu and Ross. This season, they have taken their own personal roles to the next level. You always get new roles appearing in a dressing room when you've got older players and you need fresh blood - and you need younger players to take up those roles. I think Rom and Ross have been extremely consistent and responsible in doing that. We're pleased that they've gotten the recognition that they deserve but more importantly for us is keeping them fresh to make sure that they now finish the season really strongly."

On the 3-0 win at St Mary's earlier in the season and why we'll be facing a different Southampton this time around…

On giving Oumar Niasse time to get used to Premier League football...

"At the moment, Oumar is adapting well. The first step was to get rid of the pain that he had in his wrist and the problems that that gave him. Now has probably been the first period where he's had 10 complete days of good work and he's going to get the benefit from it. From that to be able to play and cope for 90 minutes with the demands of the Premier League, is a very different story. Oumar will benefit completely from a pre-season and this campaign is more about him getting used to the environment and to slowly work towards the physicality of this league. If he can play some part of the games it will be a bonus but, at the moment, it's more an introduction rather than expecting the star role that he can have. Just by Oumar working with the group, being available and preparing himself towards games is going to help him that introduction to the British game."


On speculation linking Everton with a summer move for Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick...

"As you can imagine, [speculation] is the last thing we have got in our minds. The only thing that matters now is to prepare for the games that we have got in front of us and we'll have enough time speaking about players and recruitment at the end of the season."

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