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Liverpool’s title chase won’t influence Everton, says Roberto Martinez

May 1, 2014, 8:29 AM EDT

The question is one that people on Merseyside and throughout the globe, including Joe Prince Wright and myself in the above video, have contemplated – will Everton be motivated to affect Liverpool’s title bid in this weekend’s match against Manchester City?

The scenario is straightforward: If Everton takes a point off of Manchester City on Sunday, the title is back in Brendan Rodgers’ hands. Fail to do so and Liverpool’s title hopes diminish greatly and shift to the hands of Aston Villa and West Ham, who City host in their final two matches. 

And although Liverpool faces the more dire circumstances, Everton is still battling to qualify for Europe. While Arsenal are heavy favorites to finish 4th, the Toffees are still motivated to catch the Gunners or, at the very least, secure a Europa League berth. Roberto Martinez‘ men currently sit in one of the two Europa League spots in 5th place on 69 points. But just three points behind sits Tottenham and nine points behind is Manchester United, both of whom can mathematically overtake the Toffees before the season closes out. 

The idea that Everton could be willing to jeopardize the Europa League in order to put one over on their city rivals was contemplated by former Toffees striker Andy Gray earlier this week on TalkSport:

“Peter Reid and I were talking about it last night and we think maybe Evertonians for once in their life may not be too upset if they get beat this week,” said Gray.

“The players will try and do their job the best they can but I’ve got a funny feeling many thousand Evertonians, for one week only, will not mind if they lose the game.”

The topic has since caught fire in Liverpool prompting Martinez to share his thoughts on the matter.

“We’re looking for the next six points,” said Martinez on Thursday. “It’s a really important game, against a team fighting for the title, but we want to finish strong.

“I always felt the relationship between the two clubs in this city has had incredible chapters and this would be another fascinating one but there is no doubting our integrity towards the league and competition, we want to win every single game we go into.

“They are precious points for us and we cannot afford not to give everything we have. Helping other teams – that’s not the way we do our work. We are just focused on trying to win for ourselves.”

The comment is vintage Martinez, an answer one should only expect from the former Wigan manager who just last year put the Latic’s relegation status on the line to win the FA Cup. For many the Europa League has become a poisoned chalice but one gets the sense that for Martinez and his squad, it’s a tangible distinction they will feel proud to have earned.

As always is the case for Martinez, this weekend is all about Everton. Please the supporters with beautiful, inspired football and let the rest of the league play out as it will. “The fans want to come to Goodison, and be proud of the team. If that adds some spice in the twists and turns of the title race, then so be it, but it’s important we are as good as we can be.”


  1. zxlaa - May 1, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    No surprise here. Everton ALWAYS comes to play.

  2. unclemosesgreen - May 1, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    For my money Roberto Martinez & Brendan Rogers are the two best managers in the BPL. Both of their teams are a pleasure to watch – they combine possession soccer with streaking wing play and without forgetting to play direct sometimes as well. Both squads have bought wisely and well in the last transfer windows – could be 2 Merseyside teams in Champions League in 2016.

  3. jrocknstuff - May 1, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    I’m a huge Everton fan, and I LOVE Martinez, but the Europa league is the kiss of death for a club their size. It comes with all the challenges of the Champions League, but none of the money. Everton is going to lose many of their key players in the off-season due to loan and the Europa league demands depth. If Everton spends for depth they can’t spend for quality. Look what happened to Newcastle last season or Swansea this season. I hate to say it, but with the Europa league and the loss of Lukaku, Everton will finish in the lower half of the table next season.

    • Mike Prindiville - May 1, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      I share your concern. Getting stung by the Europa League is a definite possibility for Everton. As far as loans go, Martinez has proven he knows how to care for a player and get them in the right system. Clubs around Europe have taken notice of this – particularly Barcelona with Deulofeu – and will be likely to loan top young talent to the Toffees. For now, under the financial restrictions at the club and until it’s sold to someone with big bucks, that’s a huge plus.

      In all likelihood Barry will sign for Everton this summer, rumored to be a fee around 1-2M. Deulofeu and Lacina Traore may both extend their stay at the club, essentially making them two year players rather than mere loanees. Lukaku will likely be bought by a bigger club but expect Everton to buy/loan a new striker come next year plus Kone should be healthy. Each summer Everton has about 10-20M to play with and with EL on the horizon, that money could exceed 20M.

      In other words, there is worry but if anyone can figure out the conundrum, it’s Martinez.

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