Everton push for Champions League will not change mentality of Roberto Martinez

The Spaniard is more used to fighting relegation battles at this stage of the season

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has reached this stage of the season embroiled in a relegation battle in each of the last four years, but he insists the fact his focus has now flipped to the other end of the table makes no difference.

In three of the past four years, the Spaniard was successful in his attempts to stave off relegation with Wigan - famously winning seven of their final nine games in 2011/12 - but could not manage it last May as the FA Cup-winning exploits took their toll.

Having moved to Goodison Park in the summer, Martinez has guided the club to the brink of Champions League qualification and just a point at Sunderland on Saturday would move them ahead of Arsenal into fourth place.

But the Toffees manager believes fighting for a place in the Barclays Premier League's top four is no different from a relegation battle as the requirements are essentially identical.

"I think it is exactly the same, if I am completely honest," he said.

"It is being able to focus on the game itself, understanding the intensity and the focus you need in every action.

"In every season, whatever you are playing for, it comes down to the final points you are playing for: whether it is for staying in the league, making the top four or winning the title it is exactly the same.

"Looking back at other seasons with Wigan, we managed to get seven wins out of the last nine and that is the same intensity you need to have in any aim you are fighting for."

 

It is Martinez's experience of previous relegation battles which makes him wary of the threat Sunderland may pose.

The Black Cats may be bottom of the table - seven points from safety with two matches in hand having taken just one point from their last seven games - but they cannot be underestimated precisely because of the position they are in.

"It is important that intensity and focus is there without getting affected in a negative way through the emotions of what the significance is of achieving or not achieving that aim," he added.

"I've seen it first hand. You can use those emotions in the right way and use them to your advantage.

"You get through the hurt of seeing you could lose your place in the division - that is difficult, but then you accept that you have an opportunity to achieve your aim of staying up and that is a significant moment.

"Those emotions affect the way the team plays, and Sunderland have seven games - more than any other team in that area - and it is still very much in their hands."

Everton's fate, too, is very much in their own hands, but Martinez does not feel what they do will have much psychological impact on Arsenal, who are involved in FA Cup semi-final action this weekend.

"The perception from the outside probably changed last Sunday (after beating Arsenal) that mathematically we have a great opportunity with six games to go, but internally nothing has changed," he added.

"We set our targets clearly in the final third of the season and we are in the same mindset because we are in a position where we are fighting for our own aim.

"When you get into this sort of fight against a team like Arsenal, who season after season have known how to perform under massive expectation, I don't think you can pile pressure on a team like that.

"Favourites or not, they are in that fourth position at the moment and we aspire to get as many points as we can, but it is not a moment to look at the table.

"We are very much at the peak of our season and we will enjoy every game ahead of us."

PA

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album