October 28th, 2014
One of the consequences of Everton’s poor form this season has been the focus on striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian international was signed from Chelsea for a club record £ 28 million after he impressed in his season-long loan spell last season. After making 29 appearances for Everton last season, he scored a spectacular 15 goals and this was largely responsible for the club almost qualifying for the Champions League after a long time. In the end, they had to settle for a Europa league spot but even this was viewed as a major improvement compared to previous seasons.
The expectations surrounding Everton were raised immensely after Lukaku was signed on a permanent deal. However, the striker has been disappointing so far and this has also coincided with the club being unable to get consistent results. There is a danger of Lukaku being criticised for the poor defensive record of Everton this campaign. The toffees have the worst defensive record in all of Europe’s top five leagues after having conceded a mammoth 16 goals from seven matches. They have taken just one victory throughout the campaign and sit just one place above the relegation zone.
Martinez, however, has defended the form of Lukaku by saying that the striker is not completely fit yet. “Rom is not someone who looks for an excuse. He understands that the potential he has as a footballer will always bring huge expectations. He embraces that. The situation we have is that he was unable to get a full pre-season after the World Cup and the knock he had so early in the season meant we couldn’t allow him to have a proper introduction into work. He had to get himself fit by playing games and now we’re paying for that,” said Martinez. Lukaku has two goals this season.
September 26th, 2014
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.