Boss Seeking Derby Boost
Manager says a positive derby result will aid Everton's Euro aim.
Roberto Martinez reckons a positive result for Everton at Anfield this evening could prove a launchpad for a European charge during the season’s final stretch.
With less than four months of the campaign remaining, the Blues sit within touching distance of the qualification positions for both the Champions and Europa Leagues.
Victory at Anfield would secure bragging rights for Everton until next year and end the frustrating record of not having recouped maximum points from a visit across Stanley Park since 1999.
More importantly, however, Martinez suggests a favourable outcome could give his players a welcome shot-in-the-arm and instil further belief that something ‘extraordinary’ can be achieved by Everton this season.
“I thought that in the first Merseyside derby everyone felt that we were the better side and even though we only got a point out of it, it was a really positive boost,” Martinez said.
“We need to earn that positive feeling again and we're in a position where, if we want to be successful in the league and want to achieve something extraordinary, we should go to Anfield and be ourselves and give everything we have got to get a result.”
Meanwhile, Martinez is set to recall Romelu Lukaku to the starting line-up after resting the Belgian for the FA Cup victory over Stevenage on Saturday.
Lukaku has smashed four goals in his last three outings against Liverpool, netting a double in the 3-3 draw at Goodison Park in November after bagging in both meetings against the Reds whilst on loan at West Bromwich Albion last season.
Despite being Liverpool’s chief tormentor, Martinez insists the Blues’ attacking game-plan won’t be centred completely around the 19-year-old’s input – just as they won’t place exclusive emphasis on thwarting Liverpool’s main source of goals, Luis Suarez.
The Spaniard said: “Romelu seems to find the back of the net with ease against Liverpool. That’s always a big strength to have, but it’s got to be a team performance.
“If you go to Anfield or any ground in the top four at the moment, you need to be perfect as a team. If you are relying on one or two individuals, you will find it very difficult.
“He [Suarez] is in a great moment of form but there are two ways to face it. If you concentrate too much on him, you will get hurt by the other players because the quality throughout the squad is huge. The other one is that football is not an individual sport. Football is a sport that takes a team effort. For a positive result you need to defend as a team and attack as a team.
“Whatever strength Liverpool bring into the game, we need to be able to cope as a team. We have done that in every single game this season so far and that’s why we have been competitive in every game we have been part of.”
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