Belfast Telegraph

Martinez focuses on the positives

Manager Roberto Martinez has dismissed Everton's run of poor results as a "negative statistic" which he and his players are paying no attention to.

The Toffees have won just one of their last 11 Premier League games, leaving them just six points above the relegation zone.

They currently have just 28 points and should they fail to win at Stoke on Wednesday it would be a new low after 28 Premier League matches.

You have to go back to 1926-27 to find a season when the club had a lower points total at the same stage.

However, Martinez insists statistics can be misleading - although he was keen to point out they have lost twice in 90 minutes in their last nine domestic matches, with another loss coming on penalties against West Ham in the FA Cup.

"We are not in a position to look back too much," he said.

"Yes we are not getting the results we all want but what we have now is a great opportunity to go into the last 11 games and create some momentum.

"That is the focus rather than highlighting a statistic because statistics can be used any way you want.

"We need to be able to perform well and overcome the small margins.

"Sometimes you can assess a performance through a scoreline, the black and white of a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, but those who watched the game would have seen we were very close to getting a positive result in that game.

"It is a moment in the season when all that is needed is simplicity: which is preparing for the game ahead to make sure we get a positive result."

Asked if he had been tempted to make significant changes in order to kick-start a run of results Martinez added: "It is probably the opposite. It is being able to be consistent amid the emotion surrounding a negative stat.

"Looking at it domestically in the last nine games we only lost two - away at Arsenal and in a sad manner in the last minute against the league leaders (Chelsea).

"We feel we are getting very close to reaching momentum in the league.

"Our focus is concentrating on the next game and trying to bring an end of the season like we did last campaign when we went into a very good run of seven straight wins (between March to April)."

No matter how he tries to dismiss them, however, the numbers do not make great reading for Everton.

They have won just six league matches all season and in the last half-dozen games have scored just three goals.

Martinez insists the lack of goals is not solely the responsibility of to £28million striker Romelu Lukaku.

"Scoring goals is always important to win games but all that responsibility is for the full team, not just one striker.

"It is about being able to give the service and contribute all over the pitch."

By contrast, they have scored seven in their last two Europa League fixtures, a competition in which they have won five times in eight matches this season.

Critics have suggested Everton have been distracted by Europe and Martinez admits there has had to be some readjustment on their return to continental football.

"We want to be involved in as many competitions as we can," added the Toffees boss.

"We are still in two competitions, which is important, and we want to develop that mentality that we are ready to perform well.

"It is a learning curve of how to cope with those demands and how to perform in the league and get consistently good results."


From Belfast Telegraph