Belfast Telegraph

Martinez seeks 'swagger'

Roberto Martinez believes his Everton side must regain their "swagger" if they are to reverse a worrying losing streak.

The Toffees went down 2-0 at Hull on New Year's Day to make it four losses in 12 days over the festive period and add to a growing sense of listlessness at the club.

After finishing fifth in Martinez's first season, their current placing of 13th makes uncomfortable reading and the under-pressure Spaniard acknowledges something is missing.

"It is a tough period but the reality is that the second half of the season is an opportunity to get back our swagger and our enjoyment and get a positive result really quickly," he said after goals from Ahmed Elmohamady and former Toffee Nikica Jelavic handed Hull the points.

"Now is the time to find solutions internally and I need to bring the enjoyment back to my players on the pitch. That's the only concern that I have and I will do that with all my energy.

"We need to get back to finding that training is a real opportunity to show you can play for the team and show a real togetherness as a football club.

"Unfortunately when you are in this moment of difficulty, any change could affect us and punish us. That's the reality."

Martinez, whose stock was higher than ever last term, is now facing questions about his future at Goodison Park but with things not yet at crisis point he is firmly focused on the task at hand.

"If I had time to think about all those aspects, I wouldn't do my job," he said.

"I welcome that pressure, I know the team that I have has quality. We are far away from the levels of quality we have in our play.

"It's for us to start a new year, a fresh year and quickly turn things around. It's the time to start finding solutions."

Hull's push for victory was spearheaded by Uruguay forward Abel Hernandez, who put in a man-of-the-match performance without finding the net, and strike partner Jelavic, who bagged his sixth of the season against his former club.

But manager Steve Bruce revealed after the game that ex-England striker Jermain Defoe is on his radar in the January transfer window.

The 32-year-old is thought to be available at the right price from Major League Soccer franchise Toronto FC but Hull, like QPR, appear to have concerns over the finances involved.

"There's always speculation... you ask any club in the bottom of the division, all of us would say yes," he said of Defoe.

"Whether we can do it financially is another problem.

"If he becomes available, which I believe he is, then we'd love to do something. I think it might be too expensive but it's not a bad bit of speculation."

As for the on-field performance, Bruce was delighted.

"It's been probably our best performance," he said.

"We've seen glimpses of it but from the first minute to the 90th there was a determination that it was going to be our day.

"It was the most convincing. We deserved to win the game by a country mile."

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