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

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.

FOLLOW ALL TODAY'S PREMIER LEAGUE ACTION HERE

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.

Southampton 2 Everton 0 match report

"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."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links