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Everton manager Roberto Martinez managed to guide the club back to the Europa League in his first season at the club. This was after the fifth place finish in which there were several positives like Romelu Lukaku, who has since moved to the club on a permanent basis for £ 28 million. Even though they have made a tough start to the campaign with only one win so far, Everton still remain as one of the favourites to reach Europa League qualification once again. This will be difficult this time around due to the presence of Manchester United as a force in the Premier League.
Last season, Everton did not had to contend the Manchester outfit, who were going through a troubled spell under David Moyes. Everton qualified for the Europa League at the expense of United. After securing the first win of the season in the form of 2-0 victory over West Brom during the weekend, Martinez said that Everton are a big club who should be regularly be taking part in the Europa League as a building stone for the future. The Europa League is often viewed as a distraction by Premier League clubs due to the sheer number of matches required to win the competition.
“If we change the mentality and we are desperate to play in Europe consistently then that is when we move forward. With the experienced players we have in the squad I think we are ready to embrace that. It is a challenge not to let our league position drop due to new competition and the demands of European football but it is our goal to be in Europe season after season. The mentality is key. When you are a team that has to cope with European demands all of a sudden, it becomes a chore and you can’t really cope,” said Martinez.
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Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that he is looking to reduce the size of the squad since it is too big to work with over the course of the season. Tottenham have been on a rampant spending spree over the last couple of transfer windows.
This coupled with a number of youth players coming through and players unwilling to leave the club have contributed to a large squad. Even in the current transfer window, the club has signed several new players who will be looking to finally get to the club back into the Champions League.
Everton has not been shy of spending money during this transfer window. There have been a lot of inclusions in their first team squad of late with the Belgium international Romelu Lukaku coming in at a transfer fee of 28 million Pounds, a record for the Toffees.
Not every signing made by Everton has been heavy priced though. There have been some smart signings as well. They have brought in the wily, old fox Gareth Barry from Manchester City for free. They have also secured the services of a few young players.
But, the Everton management is still not done in the market. They are believed to be willing to have a couple of more deals.
Roberto Martinez is pretty serious about signing a winger and the player who is topping his list is Nolito who is contracted to the Spanish club Celta Vigo at the moment.
When Celta had travelled to Norwich City to play a friendly match recently, a few Everton scouts were there to watch Nolito play.
Nolito who is 27 years of age had a great La Liga in 2013-14. He had been pivotal for Celta throughout their campaign scoring goals and making play for other players too.
Despite being a specialist winger, Nolito can play the role of second striker as well with equal effectiveness.
Celta reportedly wants 8 million Pounds for letting Nolito go. It’s interesting to see if the Toffees board allows Martinez to spend this much amount. Already, a lot of bucks have been spent by the club this summer on transfers.
Martinez was actually looking to sign the Ghanaian player Christian Atsu on loan earlier, but, he failed to have an agreement with the Chelsea management for that deal and thus, he had no choice, but, to set his eyes on other wingers.
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Tony Hibbert’s contract at Everton has been extended. According to the new deal that he has signed, he would remain at the Goodison Park till the end of the 2015-16 Season.
Hibbert who is 33 years of age at the moment has spent his entire career at Everton. He had joined the club academy when he was an 11-year old boy and he has not parted ways with the Toffees since then.
The last season hadn’t gone well for the veteran Right back as he had to miss a lot of matches due to injuries, but, despite that, he ended up getting the contract extension this summer and the main reason behind that is the confidence of the club Hierarchy on him. The manager, Roberto Martinez, is also believed to be his admirer.
Martinez is one of those managers who like to rely on experience. He rates the experienced players very high. So, it’s not a surprise seeing him backing Hibbert to keep performing in the top tier for a few more years.
In many of his interviews, Martinez has said that the veteran players are important for all the clubs, no matter how strong or weak they are.
However, it doesn’t mean that Hibbert will be a certainty in the starting XI of Everton in the next season.
In Hibbert’s absence in the previous season, Seamus Coleman had performed brilliantly as a right back. So, it’s him who is going to be preferred at that position at least for the initial parts of the 2014-15 Season. If he doesn’t live up to the expectations, then, Hibbert would get his opportunities.
Hibbert has so far made more than 300 appearances for Everton, but, he is yet to find the back of the net for them.
After the immense success of loan players last season, Everton manager Roberto Martinez has expressed his desire to once again target players from a temporary basis in order to sustain the success that they achieved last season. Everton finished fifth in the table after a brilliant campaign in which they came close to finishing top four for the first time since 2005. However, this achievement by the club is considered even more strenuous considering that they have been suffering from a lot of financial problems in recent years. Further, this was Martinez’ first season at the club after he gets replaced David Moyes last summer.
The possibility of repeating the same success in the upcoming campaign looks very difficult since key players from last season like Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry have returned to their parent clubs. Everton have been trying hard to find them on a permanent basis, but so far it has not materialised. Despite this, Martinez is not giving up and he says that he is confident of using the loan system once again the club’s advantage. Lukaku has expressed his desire to return to Everton, although it looks highly unlikely that Chelsea will allow him to do so. Barry, though, could be available on a permanent transfer after being deemed surplus to requirements.
“The loan market will be important again. I have always felt loans are a real need in our squad, and we welcome that. You look back at the last experience we had with loans was very, very significant in what they brought into the squad. Every time we bring a loan player in we treat him like our own, like one of us, and allow him to enjoy his football and create unique memories. It is fair to say we have done that with all of our players in bigger and lesser amounts,” said Martinez.
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Everton manager Roberto Martinez has stated that the work on next season will begin as soon as final game of the season against Hull City this weekend. Everton will be returning to Europe in competitions once again, as they are set to finish fifth in the table. Even a defeat on the final day of the season against Hull will to see them finish the season in this position since they have a vastly superior goal difference compared to sixth placed Tottenham Hotspur. In many occasions, the presence of Europa league football has affected the form of clubs in the league.
Martinez wants to avoid this mistake by having the squad that is large enough to deal with the rigours of playing two games a week. The club will be hoping to put behind the disappointment of not having finished in the top four. They have done it only once in their Premier League era. For most of the season, they were in contention for the top four. It is only in the last few weeks of the season that they dropped significantly behind Arsenal. Defeats against Crystal Palace, Sunderland, and Manchester city made it tough for the toffees.
Everton will have to play in the play-off depending upon the result of the FA Cup final. A win for Hull city will make Everton go to the play-offs.
“As soon as we finish the final game we start work, as we did last season, to try to build a stronger squad. We have to make sure we have more numbers than last season. We don’t want to use the excuse of European football or any domestic competition affecting our league campaign. If we say that, it is because we haven’t assembled a strong enough squad at the beginning of the season,” said Martinez.