Everton seems to be a team that does not want to give up its goal of qualifying for Europe. With a 3-0 win over Newcastle United at St. James Park on Tuesday and a 3-1 away win against Fulham on Sunday, Everton has leaped over Tottenham into 5th place. And now Everton will be relishing this Sunday’s game against Arsenal where a win would put the Toffees one point behind the Gunners, with the Toffees having one game in hand over Arsenal.
One advantage that manager Roberto Martinez has in his goal to help the team qualify for Europe is his lucky run of games in the last two months of the season. The Spaniard showed his luck year after year with Wigan Athletic keeping them in the Premier League in prior seasons. Now Martinez is at the other end of the table fighting for a spot that would be massive boost for his new club. With Everton’s winning display on Sunday showing their never-say-die attitude against a Fulham team that was better than them in the first half, Martinez was very happy with the Toffees’ response in the second half, stating, “We never gave up and kept an important clean sheet in the first half and that allowed us to regroup. We then saw a performance full of guts and determination and a never-say-die attitude, which is needed as the platform in any winning team.”
Some said that the Spaniard did not have the experience to take a mid-table team to the next level. Especially, since Martinez was not able to keep his previous team, Wigan Athletic, up in the Premier League last season, being relegated to the Championship. Some people even thought Martinez was even a bit ambitious when he stated he would take Everton into Europe. However, one man that did believe in the young manager was Bill Kenwright, Everton’s chairman. It did not take long for the chairman to make his decision to hire Martinez as the next Everton manager. Now with the Premier League winding down, Everton is still chasing that final spot for either the Europa League or the Champions League.
Roberto Martinez is not the only one surprising people around the league. Under his management, players such as Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu, James McCarthy and John Stones have all taken full advantage of the opportunities they have been given this season. These players are very young, but full of confidence that they can compete with the big boys of the Premier League. This confidence comes from their manager and the senior players on the squad. With the likes of Leighton Baines, Gareth Barry, Sylvain Distin, Leon Osman and Tim Howard helping the younger players, Roberto Martinez seems to have found a right balance within the team.