Belfast Telegraph

Martinez wary of improving QPR

Roberto Martinez thinks timing is not in Everton's favour ahead of Monday's Premier League clash with QPR.

Rangers have won two of their last three games, beating fellow strugglers Leicester and Burnley to climb out of the relegation zone.

QPR's leading scorer Charlie Austin is suspended following his dismissal against Burnley but Martinez has been impressed by Harry Redknapp's side.

The Everton manager said: "QPR had a little bit of a difficult start because obviously when you get new players you're trying to find the right combinations.

"I think Harry Redknapp now has found the right formula and they are in the best moment of their season. They've been unfortunate in a couple of games, I think they should have had more points than what they've got.

"I know they've got Charlie Austin missing for this game but I think this group are in a good moment and we respect them hugely.

"I've always admired Harry Redknapp as a manager with his experience and his management skills and know-how."

What should play in Everton's favour is that the game is at Goodison Park, and QPR have yet to pick up a single point on their travels.

Martinez is wary of reading too much into that, though, saying: "The results that they've had have been well deserved. Even away from home, I thought the Southampton performance they were very unfortunate not to get a reward from that.

"You don't look back when you face a team. All you're looking at is how well you can perform and obviously we're looking at a very important period for us in the league to try to get as many points as we can."

Goodison has hardly been a fortress for Everton so far, with the Toffees winning only two of their seven home games in the league.

Among the disappointing results have been draws with Hull last time out and Swansea, and defeat by Crystal Palace.

It has been a frustrating start to the season for a team that have ambitions of challenging for the top four, but Martinez is confident a better run of form is round the corner.

He said: "We enjoy playing at home because it's your environment and you can affect things a lot easier.

"Every game is difficult. I know it's a cliche but it's true. In every other league you can count two or three games a season that maybe you can cruise through. That doesn't happen in the Premier League.

"We need to be a team that are capable of getting points away from home as well as at home but it's true that at the moment, points wise, we're not reflecting what we want and we're catching up a little bit.

"That means that we need to get a big run of good results and that starts with a strong, confident performance at home.

"We're getting very close to the half-way point of the season, the squad is strong, we've had a lot of good experiences, the competition for places is huge and I do feel we're ready to set really high standards in the league that I believe are going to give us the points that our performances would deserve."

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