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Sunday 25 September 2016

Howard: 'Blame the players not Martinez'

Everton manager Roberto Martinez
Everton manager Roberto Martinez

Tim Howard insists Everton's failings this season lie with the players and not manager Roberto Martinez.

There were protests against the Toffees boss during the 2-1 win over Bournemouth on Saturday, with a plane trailing the message 'Time to go Roberto' followed by around 100 fans armed with 'Martinez Out' banners remaining inside Goodison Park for over an hour after the final whistle. It remains to be seen whether the Spaniard can ride out the storm as only a fifth home league win in the last 12 months has done little to change the minds of a growing number of disgruntled supporters.

Martinez has come under fire for his style of play - something he was lauded for in his first season which accrued a club-record Premier League points tally - contributing to them dropping points from winning positions.

The players have escaped almost scot-free as the manager has borne the brunt of abuse, but goalkeeper Howard said that does not reflect reality.

"Everyone talks about the manager but he hasn't kicked one ball this season," said the United States international. "It is down to us as players. We are the ones who have to be resilient and dig in. If that hasn't been good enough, fair dos.

"We have to take that on the chin. The table doesn't lie.

"Whatever happens on the outside is where the game has gone, whether that is right or wrong people have a right to voice their opinion and that is what people do. Every manager needs to be given time. People can't have it both ways. Often you get everyone outside of a club talking about players who are not loyal but it works the other way too.

"People need to be given time when they come to a club - players, managers, the board, it is no different."

There have been murmurings that Martinez has lost key members of the dressing room and that players are no longer playing for their manager.

Howard takes that as an insult to their professionalism however.

"We have to roll up our sleeves and dig in, and we haven't done that enough," he added.

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