Belfast Telegraph

Martinez seeks home help

Roberto Martinez is hoping the "special" environment of playing an evening game at Goodison Park will help preserve the Barclays Premier League's only remaining unbeaten record when his Everton side host Newcastle on Monday.

The Toffees have turned their home into a fortress in recent years and have compiled a run of just one solitary defeat in 25 league games at Goodison Park, a streak which stretches back to March 2012.

The Goodison effect was particularly prevalent two weeks ago as a raucous crowd helped roar Martinez's men to a 1-0 victory over Chelsea and, after suffering the first defeat of his short reign in the Capital One Cup at Fulham in midweek, the Spaniard expects the atmosphere on Merseyside to once again play a part in aiding his side's bid to get back on track.

Both Manchester clubs have been defeated in night games at Everton in the past two campaigns and Martinez acknowledges it is a setting which seems to bring out the best of fans and players alike.

"It reverts back to a proper, classic environment to enjoy your football," he said.

"The special feeling that (a game under the) floodlights brings to Goodison is quite unique and that's when all the players look forward to playing those sort of games."

Martinez may have only been at the Everton helm since the summer but he already appreciates the bond that exists between the club and their supporters.

He added: "We rely on our fans and that's why when you play at home you look forward to playing at a full capacity Goodison.

"As a player you really enjoy playing with that support that we get as a home team. I did feel in the second half against Chelsea it was a real advantage to play in front of your fans and we want to replicate that.

"If you look at all the results that we had last season at home they're quite impressive and that goes down to the chemistry between the players and the fans, and that's quite unique. It's something everyone looks forward to being involved with on Monday."

The fans of Monday night's visitors do not seem quite as content, though.

Newcastle brought in just one recruit this summer, striker Loic Remy, which frustrated the Magpies supporters concerned at a slump in form which almost cost them their Premier League status last term.

That feeling of unease was only heightened when they were thumped 4-0 by Manchester City in the first game, however Martinez, who has been a fierce critic of the summer transfer window's current set-up, claims Alan Pardew still possesses plenty of talent in his ranks.

"As I've mentioned many, many times the transfer window 'circus' allows people to have perceptions of teams that are wrong," said the Everton boss.

"They made their business early with the loan of Remy and after that they didn't sign anyone. It seemed from the outside that they didn't do good business but the reality is the squad has been strong since January. They made a lot of good signings and that group of players are settled.

"I see a really good balance between experience and organisation but then a real threat with the likes of Remy, (Papiss) Cisse, (Hatem) Ben Arfa, (Yohan) Cabaye.

"You're talking about top, top footballers who are in a good moment in their careers and full internationals.

"You take away the Manchester City game and they've been performing at a very, very good level so it would be foolish for anyone to underestimate the potential of this Newcastle side."


From Belfast Telegraph