Everton manager Roberto Martinez admits he has three games to prove he's still the man for the club
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has acknowledged that his position will be under serious threat if he fails to improve their fortunes in the next three matches.
Martinez accepts that he deserves the criticism he is receiving currently, with his team badly out of form as they prepare for a season-defining FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Wembley this evening.
There is a widespread feeling among supporters that the manager is failing to get the best out of a squad brimming with talent such as Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley and John Stones.
Everton have not won any of the six Premier League matches they have played since a 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Chelsea on March 12, and go into today's game on the back of a humiliating 4-0 derby defeat suffered at Liverpool on Wednesday.
A victory over United would ease some of the tension, and take Everton closer to a first trophy since 1995, when they lifted the FA Cup and the Charity Shield. Martinez, though, is fully aware that he cannot afford to keep producing poor results, despite Everton indicating that his job is not under immediate threat.
"My position as a manager is always questioned," Martinez said. "As a manager, you are always three defeats from being questioned. I don't think that has changed.
"Sometimes it's in a public manner, and it is highlighted more and there are different circumstances, but the position of the manager is never guaranteed. I don't think any manager expects that.
"When you lose, the criticism is justified. I have to accept it and I need to be responsible."
Everton's next two matches after the semi-final are at home to Bournemouth and away to leaders Leicester, with the club in danger of their lowest league finish since 2004, when they ended the season in 17th place under David Moyes.
With almost a month of the season still to run, they are guaranteed to record the club's lowest home points total since the introduction of three points for a win in 1981.
The pressure on Martinez was clear during last Saturday's 1-1 draw against Southampton at Goodison Park, when fans displayed banners calling for his sacking, and one supporter ran on to the pitch to confront him.
There are strong signs that all is not well in the dressing room, with Leighton Baines having to backtrack after suggesting that the team lacked chemistry, and fellow defender Ramiro Funes Mori also apologising for his behaviour during Wednesday's defeat at Anfield, where he was sent off for a reckless challenge on Divock Origi, before kissing the badge as he walked off.
Funes Mori will be suspended today, which means Martinez is likely to have to play midfielder Mo Besic alongside John Stones at centre-back, as captain Phil Jagielka is battling to recover from a hamstring problem.
"Since the quarter-final the results have not been good enough, so any manager should be under the spotlight," Martinez said.
"That is part of our position. It is down to the results, but it is not in my mind because it is not the time. At the moment it is about the FA Cup and the focus is all on that game."