English Premiership

Martinez sees brighter days

2014-12-05 16:38
Roberto Martinez (Supplied)
Roberto Martinez (Supplied)

London - Everton will soon benefit from an "intense" start to the season in which they have struggled to juggle the rigours of the Europa League with a Premier League campaign, manager Roberto Martinez said on Friday.

The team were jeered off the pitch by supporters following a 1-1 home draw with struggling Hull City on Wednesday that left them 11th in the table with 18 points from their opening 14 games.

In stark contrast, Martinez's men have been excellent in Europe and qualified for the Europa League's knockout phase top of their group with a game to spare.

The Spanish manager says he expects his team to overcome a difficult start and recapture the league form that saw them finish an impressive fifth in the previous campaign, starting with a visit to champions Manchester City on Saturday.

"The truth is this season has been intense -- it has been good in the way we have been tested over the first part of the season and I believe that will help us in the second half of the campaign," Martinez told a news conference on Friday.

"Have we got the points we deserved? Probably not but we need to address that. We are disappointed to have had draws where we should have won and we feel if we do the right things we will get the rewards.

"We need to be a bit more aware of the performances and at certain moments of the game we need to control the ball better and sharpen up our performance and once we do that it will help us get those wins."

Everton must start with second-placed City and their prolific talisman Sergio Aguero, who has struck 14 league goals already this season.

"He is a phenomenal talent and can single-handedly win a game," Martinez said of the Argentina striker.

Ominously for Everton, the champions have begun to show signs of the scintillating form that propelled them to the title last season.

"We will have to be very aware because City are playing their best football," Martinez warned.

The Everton manager does not expect to have James McCarthy or Steven Naismith available for the trip, as both are struggling with hamstring problems, but he could welcome back defender Antolin Alcaraz, who has missed the Toffees' last six games with a shoulder injury.

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