Roberto Martinez has insisted he will not give up on the Europa League to concentrate on Everton’s struggle against relegation.
The club have dropped an average of two points after every European fixture this season but the Everton manager argued his squad was strong enough to fight on two fronts. As they prepared to face Dynamo Kiev, who are unbeaten in the Ukrainian League, at Goodison on Thursday night, the Everton striker Steven Naismith said their intention was to reach the final in May and win it.
“I wouldn’t throw the Europa League [away],” said Martinez, who is aware that is exactly what some managers in his position have done. “When we built this squad at the start of the season it was with playing in Europe in mind. That hasn’t changed.
“But we have to start winning straight away in the Premier League. But we will deal with that on Sunday [when they play Newcastle at home]. This is a chance to get into the final eight of the Europa League. We are the only English team left in the competition and there must be a reason for that.”
Everton’s European form has been hugely impressive – in complete contrast to their stumbling domestic displays, which have triggered unrest over Martinez’s future.
“My view is very clear,” he said. “The best thing you can have is experience of what is needed to perform. I finished fifth in the league with Everton. I won a trophy at Wigan. There, I was four years on the trot having to get 36 or 37 points in difficult circumstances. I know the severity of the situation and that we have no margin for error. I have been brought up with it.”
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