Belfast Telegraph

Martinez content with Everton squad

Everton manager Roberto Martinez does not view the approaching transfer window as a priority as he believes he has assembled a squad good enough to cope without further additions in the second half of the campaign.

The Spaniard admits the coming weeks will have a significant bearing on how their season turns out but he is backing the players he has at his disposal to get them through.

With midfielders James McCarthy, Darron Gibson and Leon Osman all close to a return after injury, and defender John Stones and striker Arouna Kone approaching full fitness after long spells on the sidelines, Martinez believes he has enough resources at his disposal.

"We will always work hard to try to see what we can do but it is not a priority in this window," he said.

"The priority was to make sure the summer window was exactly what we wanted and we achieved that.

"I am very pleased with the squad - it is strong and good in numbers - and I don't expect any major changes in January.

"I am delighted because I measure the day-to-day work, what we have in the squad and the potential that I can see for the second half of the season."

Martinez, however, is expecting his players to rise to the challenge of a packed festive programme and give the club the ideal platform in which to target the top four in the new year, before the demands of the Europa League kick in again in February.

They travel to Southampton, one of their rivals for a place in the top six, on Saturday before facing Stoke, Newcastle and Hull in quick succession.

"The games we have now in the league are very important for us. It is probably a very important period for us to see what we do in the second half of the season.

"The European competition has been a success and we will take that over in February but now all the concentration goes into the league.

"I do feel this period of 12 days will be significant to see what we do in the second half of the season.

"The group is getting stronger physically, the mentality has gone to another level and the only thing we can be critical about is we haven't got the points we should have in the league.

"That is something we need to learn. Sometimes it is a good knack to have as a team that you don't have to be perfect to get full points and the top teams do that and I don't think we have done that.

"We had to be perfect every time to get the three points. That is something we need to work on and understand how to do it, but I have been very excited about the second half of the season because I can see something special building in the dressing room."

Martinez received some good news on the injury front with forward Kevin Mirallas expected to be sidelined for a couple of weeks at worst.

On Monday the Belgium international was carried off on a stretcher after a poor tackle by Jordon Mutch having previously scored in the 3-1 win over QPR.

"We have great news as we were very worried after the game because it was an action where you feel the ankle is definitely damaged," said Martinez.

"The damage is the least it could be. It is an external ligament in his ankle and the way he is as a quick healer I don't expect him to be out for too long.

"I wouldn't rule him out for any of the fixtures over the Christmas period."

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