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Boss: Cup Love Began In '95

Everton's Wembley success ignited Martinez's FA Cup desire.

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Roberto Martinez has revealed that his love affair with the FA Cup was ignited the year Everton last won the famous competition.

He arrived at Wigan in 1995 with two Spanish compadres and was swiftly pitted into a match typical of the competition.

It would become a long-standing relationship which reached its pinnacle - so far - last May when Martinez guided Wigan to an unlikely claiming of the silverware.

“I paid extra special attention to the cup that year,” said Martinez of his first season in England.

“Funnily enough it was in Runcorn – my first game in the competition with the two other Spanish players and it was just round the corner."
 
Indeed, Martinez scored in that match to become the first ever Spanish scorer in the FA Cup.

"The first time I got involved with the FA Cup was back in 1995, so that's a long, long time I've been enjoying this tournament and falling in love with the tournament. 

"I think it's unique and the best cup competition in world football.”

The Blues' Saturday lunchtime quarter final engagement with Arsenal will undoubtedly be their biggest test in the competition this season.

But Martinez said: "I do feel we are ready to be successful in the cup because the team has shown it is ready to face different environments, different types of opposition and we've always been extremely professional. 

"Obviously to be able to compete against a team like Arsenal in their own ground is going to be as big a test as you're going to get but we feel that if we can get through that the team will be ready to be very successful."

A Wembley semi-final is the prize for the Everton-Arsenal clash and the Toffees’ Spanish boss confirmed he’s fully behind the last-four ties being played at the national stadium.

He explained: "I am, because it creates great memories and it prepares you for the final. 

"Sometimes you see teams who get to the final and then they get affected by the new experience. 

"The semi-final prepares you for that. You get rid of the need to get used to any new surroundings and you can play the game. I think the competition benefits from the semi-finals being at Wembley."

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