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Martinez: We're Stoked Up

Derby exertions won't cause Blues to lose focus, insists boss.

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Roberto Martinez has no concerns of a Merseyside derby hangover when Everton welcome Stoke City to Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Blues go into the clash on the back of one of their most frenetic fixtures in years knowing victory could move them back into the Premier League's top four.

And while the 3-3 draw with Liverpool was heavy in its exertions, Martinez is confident his side will be ready and raring to tackle the 14th-placed Potters.

“I don’t think it will take much to lift the players because we were very pleased with the performance in the derby," he told evertontv. “The second half was as good as you are going to get – we pushed a top team and had 10 shots on target. We opened up our opposition with a lot of good, attacking football.

“When you are the better side and don’t get three points, especially from being so close to the scoreline you want, it can feel like a disappointment. But it’s a game that, if anything, has made us stronger and we are desperate to get out there and fight for another three points.

“But we will do that while showing the respect that Stoke deserve because they will make it very difficult for us on Saturday.”

Stoke head to the Blue half of Merseyside unbeaten in four games and having drawn 3-3 in their last away outing – a trip to League Cup winners Swansea City.

That was followed by a 2-0 win at home to Sunderland, while recent results also include a 4-4 Capital One Cup draw at Birmingham and a narrow defeat in a 3-2 thriller at Manchester United.

Martinez believes that greater return of goals stems from a more attack-minded approach under new boss Mark Hughes - one which has made preparing for the Potters a trickier task than ever before.

He said: "I think it's fair to say they've had a bit of a transitional period, as you always get with a new manager. Probably Mark Hughes wants to change a little bit what's going to be the way that they score goals.

"I think their goalscoring ability now has changed from open play but they've kept that real threat from deadball situations and they got in a couple of good additions who bring a different way of playing.

"So I think Stoke now, they are a harder team to play against due to the fact that they are ultra dimensional and can hurt you in many ways. But they'll never lose the competitive edge and the experience they have and that makes them a really tough team to face."

Tickets for the visit of Stoke are still available from just £32 for adults, £21 for concessions and £16 for juniors.

To buy, click here or call 0871 663 1878.

Alternatively, visit the Park End Box Office at Goodison Park, Everton Two in Liverpool One or TicketQuarter in Queen Square.


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