Everton focus on beating Arsenal to fourth in Premier League table following win over Newcastle
Roberto Martinez has not ruled out a top-four finish for the Toffees
Wednesday 26 March 2014
Everton boss Roberto Martinez is relishing a potentially thrilling end to the Barclays Premier League season as he sets his sights on the Champions League.
The Toffees ensured they remain firmly in the mix for a top-four finish after a fine 3-0 win at Newcastle on Tuesday night in which England midfielder Ross Barkley enhanced his blossoming reputation with a stunning solo goal.
That success, coupled with Arsenal's home draw with Swansea, left Martinez's men six points adrift of the Gunners having played a game fewer and with the Londoners due at Goodison Park on April 6.
The Spaniard said: "There are going to be a lot of twists and turns. I just think you can't look elsewhere.
"I am just looking at the points tally. I just feel if we can get anywhere near 71, 72 points and that gets us into the Champions League, it will be an outstanding achievement.
"If that doesn't get us into the Champions League, it will be a phenomenal season from our point of view, so I am not looking elsewhere at all.
"We have got Arsenal to play at home, we have got Manchester United and Manchester City, so in that respect it's a really good fixture list for us, glamorous.
"Looking at the run we have at Goodison allows us to play with confidence, so you never know.
"But I do feel that this season, the league could spring a few surprises from now until the end in every single area."
Everton took the game by the scruff of the neck with 22 minutes gone when Barkley picked up possession inside his own half before carving a path through the black and white shirts to smash home a superb opener.
Martinez said: "That's Ross Barkley. Not many players can score that sort of goal.
"When you are running with that power and that strength, after 25, 30 yards, you can't really control your legs anymore.
"Ross Barkley is technically as good as you are going to get, but he has got that physicality to go with it, so that goal typifies what Ross Barkley is."
Newcastle, however, were firmly in the game until Romelu Lukaku converted the impressive Gerard Deulofeu's pinpoint 53rd-minute cross from lose range, and Leon Osman's 87th-minute third simply rubbed salt into the Magpies' wounds.
Assistant manager John Carver, standing in for Alan Pardew once again as he completed his three-match stadium ban, said: "The way the manager has them (Everton) playing - attractive football with pace, power and strength - is a credit to him.
"We matched them for 45 minutes, but it was only a bit of sheer genius that undid us.
"We had the corner and didn't lock it back into the box. They broke on us and then there was some fantastic skill and ability from a young English player, which was great to see."
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