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Everton’s Fight For Final Fourth Place Is Driven By Its Never-Say-Die Attitude

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.

If Everton does manage to qualify for Europe next season, there will be more games to be played and Martinez will need to look into signing more players over the summer transfer window. This season, Everton has been hit with injuries to key players, with the current squad not having a lot of depth on their bench.

Signing new players is one of the toughest jobs a football manager has to focus on. He not only needs to sign the right player but he also needs to work on the financial side of the transfers.  Everton is not known for having millions to spend on players the way Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Tottenham do. These six teams are the ones that consistently fight for a European spot. Their sponsorship deals vary from £12-30 million a year. Everton has recently announced an extension with Chang, a Thai brewing company, as their sponsor. The new deal could be worth around £16 million over the next three years. This is a massive difference between Everton and the other top teams. However, Martinez does not let the numbers in the sponsorship deal discourage him.

The Spaniard has overall done a fantastic job in signing players either on a permanent basis or as a loan. There is the Lacina Traore transfer that occurred in the January window that did not work out too well, with the player suffering an injury and has only being featured in one FA Cup match. Not every deal is certain and an injury can occur to any player. Most of the signings, however, have all produced thus far. Gareth Barry seemed to rejuvenate his career, in the midfield, with a move away from Manchester City. Deulofeu and McCarthy have both been players who can change a game with each scoring a game-winning goal. Roberto Martinez is renowned for his long hours reviewing and studying players. Some people may think that only looking at the soccer player’s statistics can tell a manager if this player is worth signing. The Toffees’ manager takes it a step forward explaining that the player not only needs good statistics but also a good attitude both on and off the field.

One thing is for sure, Everton seem to have a new attitude under Martinez with everyone at the club believing they can qualify for Europe either this season or in the near future. Many fans have backed the new Toffees’ manager from the start with his positive attitude, changed philosophy and different style of play at the club, making it entertaining and exciting for the fans and everyone around the league. Could this be the year that Everton add more success to their rich history? The manager, his staff, players, the chairman, and the fans all think so.

For more Everton news, analysis and opinion, visit the Everton team page.

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  1. Bucky

    April 1, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Well, hell. Let’s hand them the title if they win every match from here out. Just about as likely as them finishing 4th.

    Knockout stages are very different than getting bounced before you even get to the group stage. Everton will not have the squad to compete in Europe as they have demonstrated every year they either QF for the CL (been a while) or the EL.

    If Lukaku is for sale, EFC will be outbid. both on wage and transfer fee.

    This has nothing to do with Arsenal. This has to do with EFC.

    Last I checked December 2013 was last year. I didn’t state this season. Also, that was over three months ago. 90 days ago Man United were in 8th place back then and now? they are up to 7th! lmao. I love Davey Moyes

    • PJT

      April 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Well shucks Bucky-boy…a well-reasoned response like that deserves a tearing to shreds.

      1) We should not hand them the title if they were to win their remaining games. That would not be guaranteed and would be incredibly unlikely, though 4th place would be a mathematical certainty. Claiming that the title is as likely as finishing 4th makes me think that you don’t understand how numbers work. Did you know that the team to win the title has finished with more points than the team that finished 4th in every EPL season? Some would say that fact makes it easier to finish 4th than to win the league (maybe not you though).

      2) Everton progressed to the knockout stages in 2007-08 and 2009-10 in the Europa League (both of their two most recent group stage involvements) so I am not sure how they have demonstrated that they are unable to compete with respect to having the squad for European competition (as you said they have “every year” they have been in Europe).

      3) If Lukaku is for sale, Everton have the money to make a competitive bid. Regardless, he is only one player, and a competent replacement can certainly be found with the funds Everton have available this summer.

      4) A race for 4th place that is essentially between two teams, certainly has everything to do with Arsenal. They are the team that can be caught, the team that is dropping points, and a team that has to play at Goodison (where Everton has only been beaten once this season). To finish 4th, Everton will have to finish above Arsenal so the discussion certainly has to involve Arsenal.

      5) You stated that Everton has not held 4th “for a single week”. Most people would interpret that to apply to this season, not this calendar year, which has no meaning in football terms. I am not sure what Man United and David Moyes have to do with anything.

      Yes, it has been a while since Everton were in 4th. Yes, they face an uphill battle to overtake Arsenal. Is it possible? Absolutely. That is why this article that you have been so dismissive of was written. It is certainly worth talking about in the same way the teams involved in the title race can be discussed and the teams involved in the relegation battle can be written about.

      I think the user ratings of our comments speak to how ridiculous your ramblings are. Do your trolling elsewhere Bucky.

  2. Bucky

    March 31, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Yes. Let us talk about their 5 game winning streak too. And disregard theirs opponents. I am not quite sure how they are fighting for 4th place when they have not even held 4th place for a single week.

    Also, Everton QF’ing for the CL would be horrible for England’s coefficient. They do not have the squad to compete and will not invest in the squad. As is, they are going to have to replace several loan signings.

    They should enjoy EL. That is their level.

    • PJT

      March 31, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      Well, Bucky, several points:

      1) Everton are worthy of being talked about as fighting for 4th place because if they win all of their remaining games, that is where they will finish.

      2) Everton have occupied 4th position this season. They were in 4th as recently as December 29.

      3) Nobody is disregarding their opponents. Obviously, Arsenal can also win their remaining games and guarantee at least a 4th place finish, but that is far from a foregone conclusion given their recent form. Whoever wins at Goodison on Sunday will have the inside track, and the loser will not have their own fate in their hands. It is certainly worth talking about.

      4) As for replacing loan signings…Barry is a free agent at the end of the season and expected to sign long-term with Everton. Martinez is trying to extend Deulofeu’s loan for another season. Finally, Everton are expected to make a bid for Lukaku in the summer with the money they have from selling Fellaini, Anichibe, and Jelavic. They may, in fact, have all 3 players on their roster in August, though regardless, Martinez does have money to spend and has stated his desire to bring in 6 new player which would address the issue you have with squad size (Oviedo, Pienaar, Kone, Alcaraz, Jagielka, and Gibson returning from injury would also help).

      4) Claiming that Everton’s participation in the Champions League would hurt England’s coefficient is ridiculous. United, Arsenal, City, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Spurs have all gone out of the competition at the group stages within the last 10 years and England’s coefficient has done just fine. I would love to see Martinez give his squad a chance on that stage…I don’t think many people would miss another season of Arsenal not winning the thing.

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