Bournemouth vs Everton: Roberto Martinez denies Toffees need FA Cup win to save season

Martinez refused to address transfer speculation surrounding goalkeeper Tim Howard and Chelsea's Asmir Begovic though he did reveal that John Stones will face the Cherries this weekend

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The Independent Football

Everton manager Roberto Martinez said today that he does not need to win the FA Cup to save Everton’s season.

Martinez said finishing in one of the Premier League’s European positions is more important than winning the FA Cup, despite the club’s 21-year wait for silverware. The manager, who indicated John Stones will play in the FA Cup fifth round game at Bournemouth on Saturday, said that Everton would have been three points off the Europa League positions had they not lost 1-0 at home to West Bromwich Albion last weekend. Europa League qualification is a genuine possibility, he insisted.

Asked if he needed to win the Cup to save Everton’s season Martinez, who lifted the trophy as Wigan Athletic were relegated three years ago, said: “No, no. I would not say we need to win [the Cup.] What we need is to qualify for European positions.

“It is impossible to tell until you get into the final third [how realistic that is]. We are an attacking team, have a great record in how we score goals. [We need to be] a little bit more focussed on the demands of the season.”

Martinez did not answer the question when asked if goalkeeper Tim Howard had approached him to say he wanted a move to the MLS next season.

Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is believed to be on Everton's wanted list

He said there was “nothing to comment” when asked about the club’s interest in Chelsea reserve goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. “We’ve been working two thirds of the season, there’s no point in us talking about players.”

He said that new £13.5m striker Oumar Niasse would not be in the squad for the south coast trip because he is still struggling to recover from wrist surgery. “He is trying to get back his feeling [in the use of the wrist,]” Martinez said. “He is using a cast. The next 48 hours is going to give us final answer.” The Spaniard said he was confident the player would face Aston Villa in the league next month

Martinez said that there should not be too many changes to the FA Cup, despite suggestions that replays may be scrapped and games played midweek. “It is the best cup competition in world football. I understand certain changes must be made but it is the best cup competition and we should respect it in that way.”