Southampton 2 Everton 0: Roberto Martinez insists Champions League hopes not over despite costly defeat to Saints
Two own goals put pay to the Toffees and inflicted a serious dent in their push for a top-four finish
Saturday 26 April 2014
Everton boss Roberto Martinez refuses to believe his side's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League are over following a 2-0 defeat at Southampton.
The Toffees could have moved above Arsenal into fourth spot with victory at St Mary's, but they proved the architects of their own downfall as two own goals handed Saints all three points.
First Antolin Alcaraz directed a header past Tim Howard after just 53 seconds, while Seamus Coleman repeated the error just after the half-hour mark.
Martinez's men remain just a point behind the Gunners, who play Newcastle on Monday, but, even with only two games in the season remaining, Martinez is not giving up hope of a top-four finish just yet.
He told BT Sport1: "Not at all, from our point of view it doesn't change at all. We have had eight wins in 10 games, that's a phenomenal return and allows us to go into the next two games trying to get maximum points.
"We are working towards the biggest points tally that we can get and at the end of the season, we will see where that takes us.
"You cannot underestimate the good run that the team has been in. Today was a real setback, but we'll learn from this. We're still a very young group, the amount of changes we had to make made it extra difficult today, but we'll be ready for next Saturday."
Everton's backline was largely makeshift, with first choice centre-halves Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin unavailable, and, while Martinez took heart from the improvements his defence showed after going two goals down, he admitted his team could not respond to the setback.
"I think it's quite clear the two goals we gave away were very, very rare to see in a game. From that point on, we got a affected a little bit. We got a bit frustrated, we weren't our normal selves," the Spaniard added.
"We were unfortunate today in the way we conceded the goals. After that we came a little bit stronger in the second half, but we never had that confident look that we normally have to get that goal that would have been a good opportunity to get back into the game.
"Everything that could have gone wrong defensively, it did, and it was very difficult from that point on."
Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino was delighted after leading the club to their best ever Premier League points tally of 52.
"There were many positives aspects from the win today," said Pochettino, who refused to discuss the futures of highly-rated duo Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw.
"In the overall analysis, we just followed our style; we played in the way we know how to play, it worked for us to play a team that is fighting to get into the Champions League as well.
"I want to thank the players, the medical staff and overall the entire club because we matched our record in the history of the Premier League."
Lallana, who has been linked with a move to Manchester United this summer, also sidestepped questions over his future with Southampton, but was pleased to get the win.
"I just want to concentrate on the last two games of the season and then we'll sit down in the summer and see what happens," he said.
"I just want to enjoy my football, that's when I'm at my happiest - when I'm playing well. Playing in a great youthful team like this, I feel like one of the experienced players nowadays."
Right-back Nathaniel Clyne added: "We just went out there and attacked. We had nothing to lose, we just played our game and we enjoyed it today. We created a lot of chances and we got two goals."
Animals found with 'puncture holes the size of a human finger'
Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes head injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener fights for his life
Sam Wallace: Players of Suarez’s standing just don’t sign for clubs like Liverpool
Phil Hughes head injury: Batsman had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him
Schalke vs Chelsea: Jose Mourinho says his Blues side are playing better than any Chelsea team in recent memory
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich comment: Frank Lampard's part in City win shows folly of letting him leave
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Bill Cosby: Isn’t it obvious why his accusers have stayed silent up until now?
- 5 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict