English Premiership

Martinez has no Jose problems

2015-09-10 15:07
Roberto Martinez (AFP)

London - Everton manager Roberto Martinez has praised the professionalism of defender John Stones ahead of Chelsea's visit to Goodison Park on Saturday.

Martinez insists that his relationship with Jose Mourinho had not been damaged by the champions' pursuit of the 21-year-old.

Chelsea reportedly made three bids for Stones during the transfer window, but Everton stood firm in their insistence that the player was not for sale, despite him handing in a formal transfer request.

Everton's stance on Stones was welcomed by their fans, who came up with a song - 'Can't buy me Stones' - to commemorate the club's refusal to sell the player and, in a light-hearted moment during his pre-match press conference, Martinez told reporters that he had been signing it in the shower.

The Spaniard, who said Stones had performed with "incredible composure and maturity" throughout the saga, refused to criticise his Chelsea counterpart for his interest in the player.

"I think it's part of the rules. I have always been very vocal that I don't agree with having the window open when the official competition is on.

"But in that transfer window you're allowed to inquire about players and make your offers in the same way I've always said we take that as a compliment," the 42-year-old said.

"When you have clubs that are interested in our young players, it's a really good sign, it means we are doing something well," he added.

The match kicks off at 13:45.

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