Sunday 17 December 2017

Martinez: 'Only focus is on Dynamo'


Boss Roberto Martinez feels Everton have "10 finals" ahead of them in the Premier League - but has emphasised that the focus for now must be on tonight's Europa League last-16 first leg against Dynamo Kiev.

Martinez has accepted that his team - 14th in the Premier League, six points clear of the relegation zone with just 28 from 28 games - are in a survival fight on the domestic front.

However, the Spaniard wants all thoughts of that to be put to one side by his players when they host Ukrainian league leaders Dynamo on Thursday evening, stressing the need for each challenge Everton have between now and the end of the season to be approached "in isolation".

Martinez, who guided the Merseyside outfit to a fifth-placed top-flight finish last season in his first campaign in charge of them, said: "We know the severity of the situation in the league.

"We have 10 games to go, and we will take that as 30 points to fight for and 10 finals. But the only focus for now is Dynamo.

"We don't want to take things lightly. The last time we were involved at this stage was 2008.

"You should not underestimate how much work has been put in over the last 16 months to get into this position. So we must focus on this tie, and the home leg, which is vital.

"European football is something we want at Everton.

"I think we have enough quality and experience to understand that we need to make it a big European night at Goodison, and then the responsibility in the dressing room will be to get ready after that for the next game (the Premier League home game against Newcastle on Sunday).

"One competition should not get in the way of the other."

While in Europe Everton have won five of eight individual games and lost only one this term, in the league they have triumphed just once in their last 12 fixtures and been beaten in seven of those.

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