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Amazing footage of Klopp and Martinez in dance-off battle leaves revellers looking on in disbelief
1 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Croll-LE , David Prentice
Liverpool manager Klopp and Everton boss Martinez bumped into each other in HMV and took part in a dance-off battle
This video captures the moment high-street shoppers were left looking on in disbelief as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Everton manager Roberto Martinez compete in dance-off battle.
The footage, shot inside HMV by Joe King shows Klopp and Martinez throw some off-the-wall shapes as they begin to attract attention from customers. An onlooker said: “I went into HMV to buy the Little Mix album. Next minute, I looked up and Klopp and Martinez were having a dance off – It was incredible.”
Blues boss Martinez has already claimed to have better moves than the ones he famously threw at a Jason Derulo gig. A video of him dancing enthusiastically at the Manchester Arena on Thursday, February 4 went viral. “It’s always good to get some inspiration from creative people”, he said. “And I’ve got better moves, believe me!” Anfield rival Klopp is always an animated figure on touchlines - but cutting some shapes with the Blues boss in HMV? This one has to be seen to be believed. Find out exactly what happened!

Everton boss bemoans 'meaningless' round of international friendly fixtures
1 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Roberto Martinez brands many of the European fixtures "too friendly"
Everton manager Roberto Martinez Photo by Colin Lane
Roberto Martinez has bemoaned the latest round of ‘meaningless’ international friendlies.
The bulk of the Everton squad have spent the past 10 days on duty with their national teams but only two played in competitive fixtures. Tim Howard featured in the first of USA’s World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala while Ramiro Funes Mori played in Argentina’s qualifying win over Chile.
But the majority of Everton’s international stars were involved in friendly matches that Martinez says had little or no meaning. And with players returning to Finch Farm from all over the world, Martinez will have little time to prepare for Sunday’s trip to Manchester United. “They have been games that in many ways you find it difficult to get a real tempo,” Martinez said. “Both sets of players are wanting to finish the season strong for their teams so it is almost too friendly and it is a fixture where it is difficult to find a meaning on it. “That has been the normal case and the theme in the European games.” But Martinez says there were exceptions, added: “The most competitive games have been across the Atlantic, where the USA had two competitive games against Guatemala, Tim Howard played in the first one, and Ramiro Funes Mori had a really good game with Chile in what was, for them, a little bit of revenge after what happened in the final of the Copa America. “In both games, you could see that competitive edge but all the other games it was more a get together, sharing the ideas of the national team and another step preparing for the Euros rather than competitive games that you can get a lot out of.”

Roberto Martínez: Everton can compete financially with anyone in the world
• Manager does not fear losing Romelu Lukaku because of new investment
• Striker has said he wants Champions League football next season
Roberto Martínez
Everton’s Roberto Martínez says the club should not fear losing top scorer Romelu Lukaku, who has expressed his desire to play in the Champions League. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
By Andy Hunter
Friday 1 April 2016 Guardian
Roberto Martínez has made the remarkable claim that Everton should not fear losing Romelu Lukaku this summer because Farhad Moshiri’s investment means “financially we can compete against anyone in world football”. Lukaku raised further doubts over his future at Goodison Park while on international duty by admitting he wants to play in the Champions League next season. The Belgium international’s agent, Mino Raiola, has since touted Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus as possible destinations for the 25-goal striker. Martínez refused to comment on the forward’s future – Lukaku has three years remaining on his contract at the end of this season. He insisted Moshiri’s purchase of a 49.9% stake in the club had transformed the financial situation at Goodison and could compensate for the loss of key assets.
Everton’s Romelu Lukaku: I want to play in Champions League next season
“It’s not unsettling at all because that should be the aspiration of everyone here, wanting to be the best you can and be in the best competition,” said the Everton manager on Lukaku’s comments. “We have that at Everton. We want to be competing to win titles. We’ve been in one semi-final, now we’re in another. We want a good momentum and players need to be part of it. We need ambitious players who can carry our expectations. “We shouldn’t be afraid about losing players because financially we can compete against anyone in world football. Things have changed radically in that respect. In the last six windows we have become stronger and have made a more talented squad. That’s what we are going to carry on doing. We will speak about individual situations at the end of the season but we should not fear losing anyone because we can compete financially against anyone. To play for Everton should be an honour and a privilege.” Martínez also called for greater perspective over the form of John Stones, who came under renewed scrutiny after a costly slip during England’s defeat by Holland at Wembley.
Martínez said: “John is only 21 and people need to understand that. We accelerated his role at this club and over the last three seasons his progression has been remarkable but he is still learning the game. At Wembley you’re looking at how much he is affected by that mistake but from that point onwards he showed great character and how strong he is. “At 21 he is still way ahead of where he should be. We should all be aware he’s such a young player and shouldn’t be under that scrutiny at that stage of his career. If you think that at 21 he will be the finished article then you’re in the wrong game.”

Martinez: Everton shouldn't fear losing Lukaku - we have finances to compete with anyone
1 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists Farhad Moshiri's arrival means Blues can match any club
The start of a new financial era at Everton means the Blues should fear losing nobody, according to Roberto Martinez Roberto Martinez batted away questions about Romelu Lukaku's desire to leave Everton and insisted the new financial era at Goodison means they can match the spending power of any club. At his pre-Manchester United press conference the Blues boss faced a grilling, after his £28m striker used the international break to tell Belgian media he wants to play in the Champions League next season. But Martinez insisted he wouldn't comment on Lukaku's wantaway outburst, but did maintain that the arrival of new investor Farhad Moshiri means they should no longer fear having to sell any player. He said: "What we shouldn't be afraid about is losing payers because we are in a position where financially we can compete against anyone in world football at this time. "Things have changed radically in that respect but at the moment it's the wrong time; it's pointless to talk about individual situations because we have two months left to finish the season strongly. "You need to understand that at this point all that matters are the remaining games. In the summer we will have time to speak about individual situations. "We're not in a position where we should be fearful of losing anyone because financially we can compete with anyone. At this present time it doesn't bother me what the individual situations will be in the summer. At the end of the season we will reassess how the season has gone. At the end of the season these individual cases will be approached and we can speak about that then.

"But this is the start of a new financial era at Everton. We are very very strong and have our own ambitions. "We want to be a winning team and every window we will do that in order to become as good as we can. We made a huge investment in him and now you can see why. He has grown into the player we expected him to." Martinez also denied that Lukaku's talk of playing at a high level next term could be unsettling. He said: "It's not unsettling because that should be the aspirations of everyone. Being the best you can. "That's our aspiration - to be in the Champions League. I've said it openly for a long time. We want to be competing to win titles. "We've just been in the semi-final of the League cup and marginally knocked out by eventual winners. "Now we're in the semi-final of the FA Cup. The players need to be part of that and we need ambitious players who can carry the expectations of our football club." The Catalan did admit his exasperation about the trend for players to speak out during international breaks. Belgium forward Lukaku scores Belgium goal during the match between Portugal and Belgium Friendly International at Estadio Municipal de Leiria on March 29, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal.
"Every time we lose the payers for internationals it seems to attract what the players have to say, family member and people affiliated to them," he said. "Nothing can upset our concentration on the next two months of our season. "Rom is having a really good season - he needs to make it an outstanding season with the two months we have left. It's only the talking he does on the pitch that I'm looking at.
"Speculation is always because he's doing well on the pitch."

Everton's John Stones must start learning from his mistakes admits Roberto Martinez
1 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Stones must learn but critics need to lay off the Everton defender according to Martinez
John Stones during the International Friendly match at Wembley
Roberto Martinez has urged critics to lay off John Stones – but admits the Everton defender must start learning from his mistakes. Stones has come under increasing scrutiny this year following a number of high-profile mistakes, the latest of which came in England's 2-1 friendly defeat to Holland at Wembley on Tuesday. The 21-year-old has started only one of Everton's last nine games but could come into the reckoning for Sunday's Premier League trip to Manchester United. And Blues boss Martinez believes the centre-back's relative inexperience – he has yet to reach 100 games for Everton – should be taken into account when passing judgement on his progress. “John has attracted a lot of interest in terms of his potential but he's still 21,” said the Catalan. “We have celebrated his role in the team and he's always found a way to perform. “Over the last three seasons his progress has been remarkable but he's still learning the game and rightly so. “In a game like the Netherlands game what you look at for a young player is how much he's affected by that mistake. It's a situation where he slipped but from that point on he showed incredible character.” “Of course he has to learn in those situations. He's using these games to become as good as he can be but he's still in a development phase. “He's already ahead of where he should be but he shouldn't be under that much scrutiny. “He's played the biggest amount of games already in a season and we need to make sure we control that playing time.
“But after a mistake its what you do next.”
Stones has fallen behind Phil Jagielka and Ramiro Funes Mori in the centre-back pecking order at Goodison, and faces a challenge from Jagielka, Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill for a starting role in this summer's Euro 2016 with England.
The 3-4-3 - Jagielka, Stones and Funes Mori
Stones has competition for his place at Goodison
And Martinez hopes the intense competition will accelerate Stones' learning curve.
“I would go back to his age,” added the Blues boss. “He's already been a very important player in our first team for three seasons. “But if we say at 21 he'll be the finished article we're in the wrong game.

“Clearly he has to learn and quickly because the competition for places in our squad will force him to learn.”

Everton striker Niasse taking longer to adapt than we thought admits Martinez
1 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Exclusive: Oumar Niasse is only half ready to prove why Blues spent £13.5m on him
Oumar Niasse isn't ready
Roberto Martinez has revealed Oumar Niasse is only at “50 to 60%” fitness after admitting the striker is taking longer to adapt at Everton than anticipated. Niasse has made just four substitute appearances and featured for only 26 minutes since making a £13.5million move from Lokomotiv Moscow in January, having had a minor wrist operation shortly after his arrival. The 25-year-old came off the bench in both games of Senegal's African Cup of Nations qualifying double header against Niger during the international break, and scored in a 2-1 win for his country in Dakar last Saturday. With the Blues facing a spell of six games in 20 days – starting at Manchester United on Sunday – opportunity is likely to arise for Niasse. Niasse during the Emirates FA Cup, fifth round match at Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth
But Martinez admits it could be some time before fans see why the forward became one of the most expensive players in the club's history. “The adaptation period has been a little bit longer than we expected,” said the Blues boss. “ Oumar came back with a little bit of a problem in his wrist and that set him back a little bit. “From the work that he is doing, he is getting very close to being where he wants to be physically. Oumar Niasse has made limited impact so far “He's a player who needs to be 100% in order to be himself. He would tell you that probably he feels around 50 to 60% of his physical ability.
“We have to be very, very protective in that respect, having the player in the dressing room and Finch Farm, working towards getting him to his best level. “The quicker we get through the adaptation period then the quicker we will see the real Oumar Niasse.” Speaking when on international duty with Senegal last week, Niasse said: “My integration with my new club is going well. “I have not yet started a game. I train and I feel good in the group. I think I can be established shortly.”

Everton won't spend new wealth for sake of it - only for players who want to be proud Blues
1 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Everton boss Roberto Martinez on why he won't make showcase signings just based on big names
Everton manager Roberto Martinez Photo by Colin Lane
Everton will resist the temptation to splash their new-found cash for the sake of it this summer – and are looking only for players “with real substance” who want to drive the club to the next level.
Roberto Martinez believes the Blues can “financially compete against anyone in world football” following the arrival of Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri at Goodison. It's almost certain Everton will be unable to offer the lure of Champions League football next season, with hopes of qualification for Europe most likely resting on winning the FA Cup. But Martinez is reticent to follow the path of clubs in the Chinese Super League, who have been offering high-profile players astronomical sums to persuade them to move to Asia. Asked how the club will approach the summer transfer window, Martinez said: “The challenge is the challenge we have always had. “It helps when you have money and you can compete against any other offers on the table. “But it goes down to the players, that they want to be proud and they want to be part of Everton Football Club. Hot property Alex Teixeira snubbed offers from Europe and swapped Shakhtar Dontesk for Chinese side Jiangsu Suning in a £38m January move

“We are a club with an incredible history and an incredible link with our fans and their passion. What we represent as a football club has to be shared by the players.”
"It's not all about money"
Everton have been linked with a succession of players since Moshiri joined the club, with supporters expecting plenty of action in the forthcoming market. Shani Tarashaj didn't cost Everton big money but may be the type of player to be proud at wearing the shirt But Martinez said: “It's not about money. It's about being driven and feeling you can take Everton to the next level. “That's what we want. We don't just want a good name or someone who could look good. We want someone with real substance.
“If these players are young or experienced, it doesn't really matter. They just need to fit into what Everton demands, and that's being part of a winning team with a certain style. “The School of Science needs to be part of our future success and the players have to be fully committed to that. It's not a financial issue at all.”

Everton won't spend new wealth for sake of it - only for players who want to be proud Blues
1 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Everton boss Roberto Martinez on why he won't make showcase signings just based on big names
Everton will resist the temptation to splash their new-found cash for the sake of it this summer – and are looking only for players “with real substance” who want to drive the club to the next level.
Roberto Martinez believes the Blues can “financially compete against anyone in world football” following the arrival of Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri at Goodison. It's almost certain Everton will be unable to offer the lure of Champions League football next season, with hopes of qualification for Europe most likely resting on winning the FA Cup. But Martinez is reticent to follow the path of clubs in the Chinese Super League, who have been offering high-profile players astronomical sums to persuade them to move to Asia. Asked how the club will approach the summer transfer window, Martinez said: “The challenge is the challenge we have always had. “It helps when you have money and you can compete against any other offers on the table. “But it goes down to the players, that they want to be proud and they want to be part of Everton Football Club. Hot property Alex Teixeira snubbed offers from Europe and swapped Shakhtar Dontesk for Chinese side Jiangsu Suning in a £38m January move
“We are a club with an incredible history and an incredible link with our fans and their passion. What we represent as a football club has to be shared by the players.”
"It's not all about money"
Everton have been linked with a succession of players since Moshiri joined the club, with supporters expecting plenty of action in the forthcoming market. Shani Tarashaj didn't cost Everton big money but may be the type of player to be proud at wearing the shirt But Martinez said: “It's not about money. It's about being driven and feeling you can take Everton to the next level. “That's what we want. We don't just want a good name or someone who could look good. We want someone with real substance.
“If these players are young or experienced, it doesn't really matter. They just need to fit into what Everton demands, and that's being part of a winning team with a certain style. “The School of Science needs to be part of our future success and the players have to be fully committed to that. It's not a financial issue at all.”

Why Everton boss Roberto Martinez is hoping 1984 parallels are good omen for his side
1 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Martinez hopes Everton's second semi-final kick starts a surge just like Eighties icons
Everton - now and then
Football is constantly looking to the past for pointers to the future.
And Roberto Martinez is no different as Everton prepare to enter the final straight of a season that could yet end with a silver lining. Sunday's Premier League visit to Manchester United is the first of six games in 21 days, a period that will culminate with a Wembley FA Cup semi-final date. Having already reached the equivalent stage of the Capital One Cup, it'll be the first time since 1984 Everton will have been in the last four of both domestic cup competitions in the same season. Back then, they went on to end a long trophy drought by winning the FA Cup to kickstart a golden period in the club's history.
And Martinez has urged his players to follow that example and usher in a new generation at Goodison.
“We are starting to develop a mentality as a team that can cope with big occasions,” says the Blues boss.
“To get to two semi-finals of domestic cups is something we haven't done since 1984, and that's when we started to become a winning team. That's what we need to be at Everton.” An already hectic pre-Wembley schedule was made busier last week with the Premier League trip to Crystal Palace being rearranged for Wednesday week.
While much has been made of the supposed strength in depth of the current Everton squad, the forthcoming period will be the first time the claim has been seriously tested. And Martinez has challenged his fringe players to make the most of the opportunity over the next few weeks.
“We all talk about the best squad we have in a long time,” says the Blues boss. “Well, we have to show that on the pitch. “It's no good just to assemble a squad and work hard behind the scenes to put the squad together. “It's a welcome challenge. Six games in 21 days is an opportunity to see if we can cope with that. “It's a demanding fixture list. At this stage of the season, you want to be involved in two competitions. The success in the FA Cup has put us in this predicament. “We haven't been in this situation for a long time and it's something we embrace. We'll never moan about being involved in so many games, that's what we've been working so hard to achieve. “Every single player in the squad now feels they are ready to help the team and we need a period as demanding as the one we're about to face to see how good we are as a squad.” Four of Everton's next five games – United, Watford, Palace and, three days before the semi-final, Liverpool – are away from home. Given their travails at Goodison this season, particularly the desperate 2-0 defeat to Arsenal a fortnight ago branded “unacceptable” by Martinez, that could prove a blessing. Indeed, no team has lost fewer away games in the Premier League this season, with the Gunners the only side Everton have lost to on their top-flight travels.
“In our last 19 games in all competitions away from home, we've only had two defeats and one of those was very painful in the League Cup semi-final against Manchester City,” says Martinez.
“To keep nine clean sheets and win 10 games in that period shows a consistency that we want to achieve throughout, not just away from home. “At home, the performances have been better than the points reflect but the Arsenal performance was unacceptable.” Of course, if Romelu Lukaku's father Roger has his way, his son would be headed to Old Trafford permanently next season. Speculation over the striker's future intensified during the international break after he admitted he would like to play in the Champions League next season. And while Martinez admits such conjecture is undesirable, he has no fears over Lukaku being distracted from improving a return which has seen him net 25 goals this campaign. “This is a player who is young but who has been through everything,” says the Catalan.
“At the age of 16 he gets a big transfer to a club in a different league, and from that point on probably he's had to catch up with his reputation. That's really, really difficult. “At the moment we've seen Rom developing all the time, developing a responsibility for the team. His best attribute is his finishing but he is improving in many other areas. “You don't want speculation in the media, but it's something that shouldn't affect his focus which is to carry on performing and scoring goals and being as good as he can for the rest of the season.”

Everton: Lukaku departure looks inevitable and unavoidable says Horne
1 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
The lad is from Belgium and we’re just another club to him
Evertonians might not like it but I fear that a summer departure for Romelu Lukaku looks inevitable and unavoidable. He could finish top scorer in the Premier League but his side are stuck in mid-table.
If we’d have qualified for the Champions League he might have stayed but his stock is high and everything points to it being a good time for him to move. He’s done his job with 25 goals so far in all competitions but those around him have not prevented Everton from conceding plenty of goals.
I always felt from the day that Lukaku signed for the club that if he fulfilled his potential then the chances of him staying at Everton for the long term were slim. I remember listening to an interview he did at the end of his time at West Brom when he was still barely 20. He was very eloquent and very calm and seemed to know what he wanted, understood how things work and knew how to plot a career.
Lukaku appreciated the opportunity that West Brom had given him and he then went on to do his homework on Everton and saw that the club treats its players well. He realised that in coming to Goodison Park he could either get into the Champions League with the Blues or use it as a platform which is just what he’s done. The days of someone like myself just playing for the jersey because it’s Everton are long gone. The lad is from Belgium and we’re just another club to him. The bigger story is what kind of impact would a Lukaku exit have on other players like John Stones? For me Everton would have been justified in taking the money for him last summer but they might not get as much this time around.
Martinez moaning isn't justified
I can't go along with Roberto Martinez when he says that this week’s internationals were meaningless and “too friendly.” I didn’t watch all the games and while I’ve seen far too many rubbish friendlies, this round wasn’t the case. England had two crackers that would have been very meaningful for Roy Hodgson while Wales had a couple of decent games as well. Martinez will have had three full clear days to prepare with his players for the match on Sunday which is plenty when you’re three quarters of the way into the season. It’s not like you’re even putting the icing on the cake, you should be putting the cherry on the icing by now and just going through game specific tactics. I’m struggling to get too excited about the game at Old Trafford though because Manchester United’s play this season has been like watching paint dry. I never enjoyed going there because the atmosphere has been dull for many years apart from on big European nights. The Evertonians will try and make it an occasion but for United we’re just another game.

Royal Blue: Martinez is right, it's a critical period for Lukaku but the same goes for him too
2 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Ian Doyle on why defiant Everton boss must seize the moment after fortnight's lull
Time is nigh for Lukaku and Martinez too
If, as the saying goes, a week is a long time in politics, then the last fortnight must have seemed like an absolute eternity for Roberto Martinez. Having two weeks to stew over what the Blues boss right described as the worst performance of the season in desperate home defeat to Arsenal was bad enough. But with each international break comes the ever-present danger of players being taken out of club control. And being allowed to talk. Such was the case with Romelu Lukaku, who whipped up a right storm with comments he would like to play in the Champions League next season. It came after his father, Roger, had intimated he wanted his son to move to Manchester United or Bayern Munich.
Oh, and then Lukaku's agent, the never-knowingly-quiet Mino Raiola, piped up by trying to encourage an auction for his client between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. And Juventus. Martinez would have had a few days to work on the inevitable quizzing at yesterday's media conference ahead of tomorrow's trip to Old Trafford. And, reading between the lines, the inference was pretty clear. Martinez cannot state it publicly. But it's more about what he didn't say yesterday that prompts suggestions he is resigned to losing Lukaku this summer. That, as painful as it will be for many supporters to accept, is the most likely outcome. Everton, whose record at extracting top dollar from their saleable talent rivals that of Tottenham Hotspur, will ensure they are suitably compensated. But there's a job to be done before then. Nine games remain in the Premier League, along with the small matter of an FA Cup semi-final and, hopefully, a final. Martinez effectively publicly reminded Lukaku of the fact, imploring him to ensure a really good season becomes an outstanding one.
Roberto Martinez faces the media
In truth, there's been utterly no indication Lukaku will do anything but continue the form that has seen him net 25 goals already this campaign. However, that Martinez saw fit to speak out was interesting.
This was the Catalan as rarely seen. Spiky. Combative. Defiant.
And he needs to be.
While there were a smattering of Evertonians unhappy at Lukaku this week, the majority of their ire was directed at Martinez, his detractors using the story as a stick with which to beat the beleaguered Blues boss for failing to guide the team to challenging for Champions League qualification themselves.
This is a critical period, not just for Lukaku or Everton. Martinez shouts instructions from the sidelines
It's a critical period for Martinez.
Vocal sections of the fanbase are questioning a league record that has seen the Blues drop from fifth in his debut season, to 11 last term, to their current 12 place. Indeed, they could be 15 when they step out at Old Trafford, although admittedly that would take an unlikely series of results today.
Defeat in the FA Cup semi-final, and the pressure will only increase.
Mind you, even actually lifting the trophy may not be enough to appease his critics.
In some respects, Martinez has made a rod for his own back. By constantly talking up his players, he has given supporters a belief they should be reaching higher standards than is currently being achieved in the Premier League.
Like Klopp, Martinez can still turn doubters into believers
That's what made his open criticism of his charges after Arsenal so, as Martinez might say himself, unique. Fan expectation has only been increased by Farhad Moshiri's investment, which the Blues boss believes means the club can compete financially for any player in the world. They'll want more from Everton. More from the team. More from the board. More from the transfer market. And more from the manager. Lukaku may well have two months to ensure a really good season becomes an outstanding one. But, to borrow a phrase from across Stanley Park, Martinez has the same time to turn his doubters into believers.

Everton fans must pay more to watch Anfield derby than FA Cup semi-final at Wembley
2 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Dismayed Everton supporters asked to fork out up to £52 to watch Roberto Martinez's side across the park
Everton fans face the prospect of paying up to £52 for a ticket to watch their team at Anfield later this month. Dismayed Blues took to Twitter to voice their concern at prices for the forthcoming Merseyside derby, which is just three days before their FA Cup semi-final. It means that some of the Evertonians who make the short trip across Stanley Park on April 20 could be paying more than they would for a ticket to Wembley. Everton fans in the stands at Wembley - but making Anfield too could prove tough on their wallets Everton have received an official allocation of 2,687 tickets for the derby, which will be the first time Roberto Martinez takes his team to face the old enemy under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp. But the financial burden of being at the derby and the semi-final could prove too much for some fans. For the corresponding Goodison derby in October prices for away fans were between £43 and £48, and Liverpool were given an allocation of 2,810. The Reds subsidised tickets for their own supporters by £2.

Derby tickets will be £50/£52. So some of the 2,687 Evertonians will be paying more than the semi final. #EFC
— (@bluekippercom) April 2, 2016

Everton's Gerard Deulofeu will be refreshed and ready to go after break
2 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Roberto Martinez says Deulofeu will play important role in Everton's run-in
Gerard Deulofeu is set to be unleashed on the Premier League once more – after a break Roberto Martinez believes has been “beneficial” to the Spaniard. Deulofeu hasn't start a match since the Capital One Cup semi-final defeat at Manchester City more than two months ago. The 22-year-old was among the Blues' most impressive performers during the opening months but subsequently lost his place after suffering a dip in form over the festive period. However, Deulofeu scored for Spain under-21s in their 1-0 win over Norway on Monday night. And, with Everton beginning a period of six games in 21 days at Manchester United tomorrow afternoon, the Blues boss is ready to turn to the “refreshed” winger once more. “Geri is going to be very important,” said Martinez. “He's still a very young man. At the age of 22 he's already played the biggest amount of games (in a season) that he's ever had in his career.
Deulofeu has had an enforced spell on the sidelines
“That's where you have to be careful.
“The break he has had now is going to be very beneficial, and until now until the end of the season we will see a refreshed Gerard Deulofeu who is ready to take responsibility and have that sharpness that he had in the first two-thirds of the season. “His second game with Spain's U21s showed that. He is a player who can make a real difference on the pitch.” While Gareth Barry is banned for the trip to Old Trafford, Martinez reported no new absentees following the international break.
Gareth Barryis still suspended for Old Trafford visit
“It was important for us to get through this break with no injuries and getting players back after the last distraction of the season,” he said. “Now we've got two months of competition to finish the season as strong as we can. “It gave us an opportunity to look into different aspects of things that we have to do better and improve and things we need to maintain.”

Everton Behind Enemy Lines: Manchester United couldn't say no to Lukaku
2 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Oli Fell speaks to a Manchester United fan ahead of Everton's visit to Old Trafford
We spoke to United fan and writer Paul - co-host of the United Rant Cast podcast and a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.
United's season so far has been 'unspectacular' yet you find yourselves right in the contention for a top four place, how do you see it panning out? I suspect that either City will get it together to earn a few points or United will fail to make them pay for dropping further points. Van Gaal's entire time at United has been the story of brief flurries of form being met almost immediately by long periods of incompetence. I'll be delighted but pretty shocked if United make it into the top four or do anything in the FA Cup. You beat Everton comfortably in the reverse fixture this season, are you expecting a different challenge this time? Very much so. Firstly, I think even given Everton's home form they were particularly poor that day. It was the day everyone found out Howard Kendall had sadly passed away and there was a very heavy atmosphere about the place. A banner to Howard Kendall hangs at Goodison during the Manchester United game earlier this season And, of course, they've been much better on the road. Plus that was a day in which things clicked for United, and it is entirely possible that won't be the case on Sunday. Which Everton player do you think will cause you the most problems?
It's got to be Lukaku, right? United's defence has been a bit more okay than most people thought it would be, but that has mostly been because they've had a ton of protection.
Everton's Romelu Lukaku
If Lukaku's on form and Blind and/or Smalling struggle, that could make it a long old afternoon.
If you could have one Everton player in the United team, who would it be and why? Same answer as above, I think. I just really love watching Lukaku play, and he's super effective. Although I think given the emergence of some young talent at United it might be a bit of a shame to bring in an established centre-forward, nonetheless I couldn't say no to Lukaku.
Tom Cleverley
Either that or Tom Cleverley. Miss you Tom. Hope you're keeping well.
Let's talk LvG. In? Out? Let's not get hokey pokey here, it looks like he could be replaced at the end of the season - how would you sum up his tenure at United? I mean, thoroughly disappointing for sure.
Moyes was such a calamity for us, in a very specifically dispiriting way that having a blustering self assured dictator felt quite reassuring.
But he's been tactically conservative, increasingly full of excuses and just generally unsuccessful. I would be happy if he was replaced in the summer even if the prospect of Mourinho is a daunting one.
Which of his signings has impressed you the most this season?
Anthony Martial for sure. He is an incredibly bright prospect and has often been the best reason to watch United this season.
Anthony Martial
Finally... How do you see the game going on Sunday?
I really have no idea because both teams are capable of such extremes of performance.
I guess there should be goals given the defensive struggles both sides have faced. So because I've got every prediction wrong this season I'm going a for a 0-0 draw!

Lukaku take note - Muhamed Besic shows how players should talk on international duty
2 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Everton midfielder Besic focusing solely on achieving his ambitions at Goodison
If Everton were minded to draw up guidelines for how players should speak on international duty, they could do a lot worse than look to Muhamed Besic. While Roberto Martinez had to cope with the headache caused by Romelu Lukaku’s comments to Belgian media about his future last week, another popular young Goodison player was more circumspect. At 23 Besic is just a year older than his Toffees team-mate, but has taken heed of the unspoken rule which demands due respect for your current paymasters even when you’re off their patch. During the international break, the tough-tackling midfielder was quizzed about his time so far on Merseyside but his answers will be music to Royal Blue ears. He’s already had spells playing in Germany and Hungary, but the fans’ favourite feels at home in the Premier League and is looking no further than L4. “I like England a lot. That is why I chose to come and play here,” he told the Sarajevo Times. “I’ve learned a lot. I think the fans like me because I love to tackle. In England you make a tackle and the crowd lifts. I am really pleased with that.
“It is always good to have a good relationship with the fans.” Besic came through the ranks at Ferencvaros, the club Martinez signed him from for £4m in summer 2014, as a central defender. But he admits that after assessing his ability on the ball, Martinez quickly ear-marked him for a more advanced role. “I think they liked my strength first and then my technical ability because I used to play as a central defender,” he says. “I have always worked on the defensive side but the manager here thinks I can do more than that. “I have developed a lot with him and now maybe I am not just in the side for my tackling. It’s good to be passionate, but the manager has taught me to be a little calmer and to focus on football. “I’ve learned a lot. “In some games, for example, I have not made a single tackle, not one. So I can play also without doing that. I can do both. I have worked hard.” But it’s when quizzed about his future, and thoughts on furthering his footballing CV that Besic really shows players such as Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas how it’s done. Romelu Lukaku, Muhamed Besic and Kevin Mirallas of Everton pose for photographs with young fans He signed a new contract extension in February and says: “I’m really happy to have signed a new contract with a club such as Everton. “After a year and a half with the club, it makes me proud that they have given me a new deal. “When I first arrived here it was difficult for me, but now I feel at home. The supporters, as well as the manager, the staff and my teammates, have all made me welcome and I feel really happy. “It was very easy when I heard about it. It was clear that I wanted to stay and sign the new contract. “When people look at my game, before and now, I think I have improved a lot in many different areas. But, like you have seen, I am still adapting to the league and I will continue to work hard and give my best. “We always speak about things we want to achieve, Europe and other things. We have to show it on the pitch and do it. The next league games and the semi-final of the FA Cup, I hope we can do our speaking on the pitch.” It’s not just how he speaks about the club which marks Besic out as a young man of admirable integrity. He is also an ambassador for the Emmaus charity, created to tackle poverty, and quietly carries out much work for the organisation in his native Bosnia. “I don’t like to speak about it because it is private but I try to help as many people as I can,” he says. “People see me as a role model in Bosnia but before I was 18 or 19, I didn’t realise that.
“Now I realise how important I am for the people in Bosnia and kids who look up to me. One friend told me about Emmaus because I didnt know, so I went to see them and I had to start helping them.
“They build the centre up more and more each year. They didn’t used to have a pitch but now they do. They are thankful people.”

Everton: Robles vindicated to finally face de Gea as an equal
2 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Blues keeper going toe to toe against his old friend and rival
Everton's Joel Robles is heading to Old Trafford feeling vindicated as he finally gets to face his old friend and rival David de Gea – the man he considers the world's best goalkeeper – on an equal footing.
Although the pair were both born in Madrid in 1990, Robles, who is 144 days older, has always been in de Gea's shadow. They both came through the youth ranks in the Spanish capital at Atletico but Robles' first team debut only came because de Gea was rested ahead of the 2010 Europa League final.
A year later, de Gea made a massive move to the Premier League and joined Manchester United.
Robles followed him to the north west of England in 2013 as came to Wigan Athletic on loan.
Robles of course won an FA Cup winners' medal that year of course the Latics were also relegated. De Gea in contrast was a Premier League champion that year. Come the summer, Robles followed his compatriot Roberto Martinez to Goodison Park but until the start of the current calendar year he has had to make do with the odd cup outing as he played second fiddle to Tim Howard in Premier League games. However, after two-and-a-half years as understudy he has now established himself as number one at the Blues. Robles said: “Of course when I signed for Everton my aim was to be number one. It's not easy you know, in front of me I had Tim Howard who has been playing at this club for 10 years who is professional, a good guy and a good example for me.” Now the first choice at his club, Robles has the chance to measure himself against de Gea as an equal. He said: “He's my mate. We played together at Atletico Madrid in the Academy then after in the first team together again. “De Gea left to go to Manchester and I stayed at Atletico. “I like David, I think now he is in a good moment in Manchester and he saves them every game. “I'm really happy for David. I see him sometimes in Manchester. We go for Spanish food or watch football whether it's the Premier League or La Liga.” Getting physical

Unlike many continental custodians, Robles insists he relishes the rough and tumble of the English top flight and that's one area where his strength gave him the edge over de Gea whose naturally slender frame had to be bulked up to meet with the rigours of the Premier League. He said: “I am different than David. At that moment he was so skinny. I think that the physicality is unbelievable and he weighs 10kg more than he did in his first year. “When I signed for Wigan I spoke with him. He told me that's it's unbelievable in the Premier League and for a keeper it's really good and very quick.” “This is his fifth season here and the level is the same. The most important thing is when you are young you need to learn quickly. For example I learned from Tim Howard which was so important.
“For me the Premier League is a really good league for a keeper.
“I like the aggressive play and the crosses. Here you can be winning 2-0 and then in the last 10 minutes maybe you lose the game. For me the Premier League is unbelievable.”
The Real deal or no deal
De Gea came within minutes of quitting Old Trafford last summer when his £29million switch to Real Madrid collapsed because the paperwork was not completed by the Spanish giants.
Despite the player subsequently penning a new four-year deal in September, Robles admits United could still have a fight on their hands to hold on to their prize asset.
He said: “I don't know what will happen, for United it is a difficult situation. Real Madrid is a top team, it's normal you know. For me David is happy in Manchester and has kept up the level of his performances. “He's happy at United. David is important for the club. They're fighting for a Champions League spot and I think he is the best player at United now. “It's quiet now and it's important that he concentrates now for the rest of the season. After the summer I don't know the situation.”
Best in the world Robles believes that de Gea is now one of the very best in the business but that doesn't stop him from giving the likes of Romelu Lukaku handy hints on how to exploit his rare weak spots. He said: “David is a really good goalkeeper. I think maybe now he is among the three best keepers in the world. “For me, Iker Casillas is the best. Not at the moment but I think Gianluigi Buffon and David at the moment. “After Iker and Buffon there are many young goalkeepers. Neuer, David, too many young goalkeepers. “I help my team-mates. It's important of course. Not only with David but other keepers I say things like 'you need to shoot differently'. “This is football but I like to win of course. The most important thing for me is my team.”

Everton: Robles welcomes fresh competition for number one spot
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Spaniard expects Blues to recruit new keeper in the summer
The challenge for Joel Robles now is to hang on to his spot as Everton's number one goalkeeper after working so hard over the past two-and-a-half years to displace Tim Howard. With the US international returning home at the end of the Premier League season to join MLS side Colorado Rapids, the Blues are expected to bring in fresh competition in Robles' position but he insists he remains unconcerned.
Robles said: “It's normal to sign a new goalkeeper because Tim is leaving. The most important thing for me now is to take things game by game. “I play against United, keep my level and try and help my team and that's it.” Having played in Everton's last five matches, Robles has already overhauled his three-game stint as first choice with Atletico Madrid where he was displaced by Chelsea's Thiabaut Courtois who arrived on loan and stayed for three years. However, he refuses to feel bitter about the experience and said: “I learned and had to go to the bench as number two. I learned from every situation, it's important when you're young. You turn a bad situation into a good situation.”
Robles sticks by the old football adage that he's just taking things one game at a time but acknowledges that the Blues need to begin picking up points – starting at Old Trafford. He said: “The rest of the season now is important. We play away against United and it's really important. “We lost at home in the last game and the next eight games are important for us. “The most important thing is taking it game by game. If you think about the semi-final this weekend we may lose again and then that makes it difficult for the semi-final. “We've got to focus on United and then the next game, game by game.”

Manchester United vs Everton: Inconsistency, the left-back issue and other talking points
3 Apr 2016 Manchester Evening News
By Rob Dawson
Have a look at five key issues ahead of Man Utd's Premier League clash with Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Van Gaal has won two of his four derbies
Fixing the inconsistency
The international break came at bad time for United. But it’s important for Louis van Gaal’s side that they build on the momentum created with the win over Manchester City when Everton visit Old Trafford on Sunday. It’s been typical of United this season to follow up a good result with a bad one. The home defeat to Southampton in January came after the 1-0 win at Anfield and the 3-2 win over Arsenal was quickly followed by defeat to West Brom at the Hawthorns. It can’t be allowed to happen again.
Smalling v Lukaku
One of the reasons United won so well at Goodison Park in October was because Chris Smalling stopped Romelu Lukaku from having any influence. The striker is in form after scoring six in his last seven games, and one for Belgium against Portugal during the international break.
His pace and power has caused United problems in the past, playing for both West Brom and Everton. It will be up to Smalling rather than Daley Blind for take responsibility for him at Old Trafford.
If they can stop Lukaku scoring they will have nullified Everton’s main threat.
The left-back
Marcos Rojo has started the last seven games at left-back but has only completed 90 minutes in three of them. He had a poor game against City. And even though Van Gaal said afterwards he was taken off because of a fitness issue, it was the right choice tactically, as well.
Fit-again Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Matteo Darmian offer other options if Van Gaal decides Rojo needs a break.
Rojo has started the last eight games for United
Marcos Rojo has been a regular in the team since returning from injury.
A change for Lingard
Jesse Lingard had one of his best games for United against City, playing as the No.10 behind striker Marcus Rashford. Despite playing in an advanced role, he did a vital defensive job on Fernandinho – probably the reason he was picked ahead of Juan Mata, who started on the right.
But as well as Lingard played, it’s debatable whether Van Gaal will need him against Everton. Playing at home, United will need to be on the front foot more than they were at the Etihad and Mata is the more creative player.
Manchester United fans might have turned against Sir Alex Ferguson over Mourinho
Jesse Lingard was given a central role in the derby.
Herrera back in
His performance at Everton earlier this season was one of his best of the season. He was used as the No.10 that day, but he might find he’s used in a deeper role between now and the end of the season. Bastian Schweinsteiger is unlikely to play again before the summer and there’s a chance for Herrera to get a run of games.

Everton: Stones is as good as Barcelona's Pique insists Robles
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Keeper reckons young Blues defender is at the same level as Spanish ace
Joel Robles insists that Everton's ball-playing centre-back John Stones is as good as Gerard Pique and would be better appreciated if he was playing in Spain.
Earlier this season the Barcelona defender picked the Blues player in his World XI and Robles reckons the Yorkshireman wouldn't look out of place in such esteemed company.
He said: “John is unbelievable. He's a young lad. We've got John, Jags and Funes Mori. We have youth and experience. Jags is a really good centre-back.
“For me, I always say the same. In the future this club will fight for the top four.
“I think he is different. He is not a typical English centre-back. John has learned at Everton and for me John is important for this club that we keep him.
“I think he is at the same level [as Pique] at the moment. In the future he can be a really good player.”

Ian Doyle: Will Farhad Moshiri want his first major act at Everton to be selling Romelu Lukaku?
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
Sports writer Ian Doyle
New Goodison investor will want to make a statement - cashing in on best player probably isn't it
Funny how perceptions can shift.
Here's Roberto Martinez, speaking on Friday at his media briefing ahead of today's trip to Manchester United. “What we shouldn't be afraid about is losing payers because we are in a position where financially we can compete against anyone in world football at this time.” And here's Martinez speaking in August. “We've got to a point now, in life and in football, where money can't buy everything. That's going to be a very strong statement from Everton; we want to be a winning side.” The first comment was regarding the possibility of Romelu Lukaku leaving. The second, John Stones. What's happened in between, of course, is the arrival of new investor, Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri.
And, thanks to Lukaku, Moshiri is now facing his first real test. Everton indeed made a statement when, last summer, they rejected three bids from Chelsea for Stones and a transfer request from the player himself. Stones, at least publicly, didn't put up much of an argument. Everyone continued with their business. Lukaku's situation, though, is slightly different. The striker has been making noises for some time about wanting to play in the Champions League and there can be no argument, as there was with Stones, that a move to a 'bigger' club would be too much, too soon.
Lukaku has shown constantly this season that he is ready.
Speaking last month, he addressed the issue of departing Goodison this summer by saying: “I don't want to leave in a fight, if it happens.” But it will be a fight. Both sides will do the usual skirting around the issue, saying the right things to not want to fall out with supporters, then the crunch moment will arrive.
And then Moshiri has to ask himself the question: does he really want his first statement as a major investor to be selling Everton's best player? What kind of signal will that send out? That the Blues can have all the money they want but that doesn't mean they can keep hold of their talent?
Sure, they could get more than £50million for Lukaku. But is there a striker of equal talent willing to come to the club? Of course, the striker wanting to leave is no reflection on Moshiri, who is still getting his feet under the table at Goodison. However, he's left him with an impending problem. Lukaku may not want a fight. But the fact is both sides are now taping up – the gloves are being put on.
Blink and you'll miss him
Well, that didn't last long.
Emmanuel Eboue signed for Sunderland on March 9. Three weeks later, he was gone.
Eboue has been banned by FIFA for a year after failing to pay money to a former agent.
Not clever, yes. A dispute, yes. But one that prevents someone from working in their profession for a year? This, of course, is a FIFA that allows clubs to go two months without paying players. Remind us, who exactly do supporters go to watch? The players or their agents?

Quality in Everton's squad now matches Manchester United says Snodin
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
by IanSnodin
Blues can go to Old Trafford and win
This might seem a bold statement given Everton's form of late and the fact that we're going to play Manchester United away but I think we've got a great chance of going to Old Trafford and picking up all three points.
We can certainly hurt them the way we play away from home.
It's not like the lads have had a lot of time to really think about the defeat to Arsenal because they've been on international duty and they'll have had other things on their mind. Old Trafford is always somewhere you enjoy playing and it's always a big game against Manchester United. You want to play well there and until a couple of seasons ago when Bryan Oviedo scored we hadn't won there for so long.
Our fans have seen a lot of defeats there over the years and I know that Manchester United are above us in the league but when I look at the respective teams I think they'd rather have more of our players than we'd have from their team. Everton's players will be wanting to put things right after the disappointment of the defeat against United at Goodison earlier in the season. There was no question about it, the atmosphere around the ground didn't help with the news of Howard Kendall's death breaking that morning. It knocked everybody for six and we couldn't believe the news. Everybody around Goodison was subdued and we put in a subdued performance.
I put it down to things not being right off the field with what had happened and we've got to forget about that display now. It was a very surreal game. We've got to show them respect, they are Manchester United, one of the biggest names in football who have won many honours but we've got to go there and take the game to them. They've been getting forward a bit more in recent weeks then they had previously so I think it will be an entertaining game and there will be gaps for us to exploit.
This is the first of five games before the FA Cup semi-final. We've got a lot of catching up to do in the league and hopefully there will be some wins so the confidence will be there for Wembley.
We can't look beyond these league games and we are playing three potential cup opponents during this run. Roberto will be putting that to the boys, the squad is going to have to be used during this busy period and places are up for grabs for Wembley.
We all make mistakes but Stones will come good
He hasn't been playing much for Everton of late but John Stones was back in the spotlight for England during the week. John was unfortunate that he slipped again but some of the balls he was playing into the midfield and front-runners were fantastic. He's a very capable player who is quality. He'll admit that he's made or two mistakes but he's 21 years old. You learn in football right through to the day that you retire and John is just starting out really and even the experienced players make mistakes.
He's going to be a world class player but it's been a frustrating time for him.
Ramiro Funes Mori is doing really well and as captain Phil Jagielka is probably number one defender.
John might have to be patient and bide his time but you never know, the manager might decide to play with three centre-backs again. The club did really well to turn down a fee of almost £40million for him last summer and his name was on everyone's lips. I'm just delighted he's still in an Everton shirt and I hope he will be for years to come and I just want him to do well for Everton and play his natural game.
Dallas delight but no soap opera from our lads
I'm absolutely delighted for our young lads to have won the Dallas Cup.
I was following their fortunes throughout and was disappointed to hear that they'd lost the first game and thought they've got it all to do. However, they bounced back fantastically well and went all the way. They' ve got a lad from Birkdale Delial Brewster and he scored some great goals that he took really well. More importantly, as the coach Kevin Sheedy stated in his interviews, they're a great bunch of lads who were a credit to themselves while they were away. That's a big plus, because when you're a young lad away from home you're tempted to mess about but they were really focused on the job in hand and trained well while they were out there and performed to the maximum.
As a coach you can't expect much more than that and speaking to Kevin he thoroughly enjoyed his time over there and doesn't want any credit. He says they got it through pure hard work, determination and some quality goals. It was lovely to see the way they celebrated and it's something that they'll all remember even if they don't play for Everton in the years to come, they'll never forget that.
The aim is to produce players who can make it in the first team but the next step for these lads is to try and get into David Unsworth's U21s squad.
Next season will be the time for Niasse to shine
Roberto Martinez has said that Oumar Niasse hasn't developed as quickly as he'd hoped at Everton and I must admit I still don't know that much about the boy, he's only played a few minutes coming on as a substitute. He went away with Senegal and scored so hopefully that will give him a bit of confidence but I think that it's going to be more next season for the lad than this season. I'm sure he'll play a part over the coming weeks given the amount of matches we've got coming up but hopefully he'll have a big say next season.

Everton: David Moyes unconcerned over Yobo deal - because nobody wanted him
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Football Echoes: A decade ago Blues boss said his phone wasn't ringing over Nigerian defender
Everton manager David Moyes speaks to Joseph Yobo
Last month Joseph Yobo declared that David Moyes will be heading to Nigeria for his pre-retirement testimonial on May 27. The former Everton defender also claimed that the likes of Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o will also be present at the bash in Port Harcourt. A decade ago the Scot was insisting that he was unconcerned about Yobo not having signed a new contract, despite an offer being on the table for the defender for more than a year – because nobody was interested in him.
Yobo was Moyes’ first signing as Blues boss in 2002 – initially on loan from Olympique Marseille – and would go on to hold the club’s appearance record for a player outside the British Isles between 2007-12 while also become their first African-born captain. Back in 2006 though the clock was seemingly ticking on Yobo’s Goodison future with little more than a year remaining on his current deal and speculation rife that Arsenal were monitoring the situation.
However, Moyes told David Prentice: “It doesn’t concern me that he only has one year left on his contract because I have not had one phone call from any manager or one phone call from any chief executive or chairman. “We offered Joseph Yobo a contract a year ago, and it’s been on the table, so it’s not us who have been slow in dealing with it, it’s Joseph and his representatives.” Moyes would be vindicated as Yobo penned a new four-year contract on July 22 that year and a more pressing concern for him was his team’s form as they had just been held to a 2-2 draw at home to a wretched Sunderland side who would finish the season rock bottom of the Premier League with just 15 points. Dominic King mused: “As Aintree prepares to stage the Grand National this weekend, Everton’s season could mirror the fortunes of one of the great race’s also-rans. “Slowly away and soon in trouble, Everton recovered stylishly to make significant ground on the leading pack, but their challenge was ultimately ended by a couple of late blunders, meaning they failed to stay the marathon distance.”

Top of the charts: ‘So Sick’ by Ne Yo.
Everton's Craig Short admitted he faced a battle on his hands to get back into the side after picking up a suspension. A booking at Leeds meant that the centre-back was given a one-match ban against Bolton Wanderers. The former Derby County man said: “I had a spell earlier in the season when I thought I was going to be suspended. “I was booked at Southampton and thought I’d gone over the points tally and I was chuffed to find out I had a little bit longer. “That meant I just got past the cut-off sate when a suspension went down from two games to one. “That could be very important, because when you miss games through suspension at a club like Everton there’s absolutely no guarantee of getting back in.”
Short’s fears were justified as he started just one of the Blues last four games of the season.
Top of the charts: ‘Firestarter’ by The Prodigy
‘Pointon’s Sickener’ was the banner headline on the back page of the ECHO 30 years ago as Ken Rogers reported on how Everton’s talented young left-back had been ruled out for the remainder of the season after being injured in a reserve game at Blackburn Rovers the previous night. A £75,000 capture from Scunthorpe United the previous autumn, the 21-year-old had started 20 consecutive games in the number 3 jersey between December and late march. Rogers remarked that it was the latest in a series of catastrophic injury blows to have hit the double chasing League Champions. Manager Howard Kendall admitted: “Neil is in a nursing home and was having a knee ligament operation this morning. It’s becoming an all too familiar story.” Neil Pointon coming up against former club Everton while with Oldham Athletic as he grapples with Robert Warzycha However, the Blues boss added: “He will bounce back from this injury blow. “He’s a confident lad and when he first came into the side he adjusted very quickly.” Everton were already without both Derek Mountfield and Peter Reid for several months, Kevin Sheedy had suffered “one problem after another” and most recently Neville Southall had dislocated an ankle. Top of the charts: ‘Living Doll’ by Cliff Richard and The Young Ones
As David Fairclough won the Derby for Liverpool with an 88th minute strike and 14/1 Rag Trade edged out Red Rum by two lengths in the Grand National, the Football ECHO declared: “Only yards separated Merseyside from an all-red double. Having been an Aintree winner in both 1973 and 1974, ‘Rummy’, who had also been runner-up the previous year, would have to wait another 12 months to record his historic Grand National hat-trick. Fairclough’s late winner kept the Reds on course for the League Championship and he told Alex Goodman: “I just do what comes naturally to me and the goal seemed to be going in. “When I was sitting on the bench there seemed to be plenty of chances about. There were still plenty when I came on so I decided to get my share. “I might have had another goal just after but my concentration went.” Liverpool's David Fairclough on the ball (right) against Everton - he went to score the winner on 88 minutes. 3rd April 1976 Phil Neal could have added a second a minute later but drove his penalty wide after Bryan Hamilton had handled a shot from Kevin Keegan. Manager Bob Paisley joked: “I would have entered him [Fairclough] for the Grand National if it had been possible – and he would have won that as well.” Everton manager Billy Bingham lamented: “I am very disappointed for the players because we battled so hard. “We kept with Liverpool all the way and although I hate to lose I could see good things in the game, notably the performance of young Dave Jones.” Back at Aintree, Rag Trade’s victory was a second success in the big race for his owner Raymond Bessone, the celebrity hairdresser known as ‘Mr Teasy Weasy.’ Raymond, who trained Vidal Sassoon in his Mayfair salon and owned 1963 victor Ayala, had purchased Rag Trade for 18,000 guineas the previous year.

Everton FC fan receives surprise visit from hero Graeme Sharp on his 60th birthday
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Eleanor Barlow
Footballing legend paid a visit to John Ferguson at his Crosby home
An Everton FC fan received a surprise visit from a footballing hero on his 60th birthday.
John Ferguson had his family round for birthday celebrations when he heard a knock at the door and opened it to find former Everton player Graeme Sharp. He said: “You could have knocked me over with a feather.” The lifelong Blues fan, who said the former striker was one of his heroes, invited the Everton ambassador in where he chatted, signed shirts and posed for photos. He said: “He was here for over an hour. “He is an ambassador for Everton and he was doing exactly that.” John Ferguson's grandaughter Megan Bracken with Graeme Sharp The surprise was arranged by John’s friend Paul Cain - a Liverpool FC season ticket holder. John, who works at BMW dealership Williams, said: “Paul said he had wanted to get me some memorabilia so he contacted Everton who just grabbed the bull by the horns.
“Apparently the club said Graeme could give me a ring, but when they found out I lived in Crosby they said he drove past there quite a lot so he could pop in for a visit. “Paul then got in touch with my wife Cathy and made the arrangements.”
John Ferguson with a shirt signed by Graeme Sharp
John said family including his daughter Carly and his grandaughter Megan Bracken were at the house for his birthday when the footballer visited. He said: “My wife is really good at keeping secrets.
“They were all in on it but she had only told them a few days before, to make sure no one spilled the beans. “It was such a surprise to open the door and see him there.”

Manchester United v Everton team news: Stones and Deulofeu start at Old Trafford
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
First start since January for Deulofeu as Besic drops to the bench
John Stones and Gerard Deulofeu have been recalled to Everton's starting line-up for today's game at Manchester United. Stones, who completed 90 minutes for England in midweek, replaces Ramiro Funes Mori while Deulofeu starts a game for the first time since January's Capital One Cup semi-final with Manchester City. It means Mo Besic, replaced at half-time against Arsenal last time out, drops to the bench. Joel Robles keeps his place in goal, with Seamus Coleman, Phil Jagielka, Stones and Leighton Baines making up the back four. It would appear that Tom Cleverley will partner James McCarthy in midfield with the trio of Deulofeu, Aaron Lennon and Ross Barkley playing behind Romelu Lukaku.
Roberto Martinez has named an attacking bench with Arouna Kone, Oumar Niasse and Kevin Mirallas among the substitutes. Everton: Joel, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines, Cleverley, McCarthy, Lennon, Barkley, Deulofeu, Lukaku Substitutes: Howard, Oviedo, Kone, Mirallas, Niasse, Besic, Funes Mori

Manchester United vs Everton match report: Anthony Martial goal keeps top four in sight
Manchester United 1 Everton 0
April 2 2016 Independent
A sense of time, place and occasion has been in short supply in these past three years, when the struggle to build something out of what Sir Alex Ferguson bequeathed has brought so many bad decisions and so much blind panic to Old Trafford. The afternoon designated to mark the contribution one of those who first blossomed among Sir Matt Busby’s Babes was different. A winning goal created by the combined imagination of two 18-year-olds and finished by a 20-year-old befitted the moment so sublimely that you sensed the clouds lifting a little for Manchester United. The struggle to re-establish a place at Europe’s high table continues and Ferguson’s phraseology in midweek that United might require another year “on the quiet side of success” looks as wise as it was memorable. They were not imperious. 1-0 told the story. But to witness Marcus Rashford imperiously rolling a ball under his studs for Tim Fosu-Mensah to fire the cross which Anthony Martial, the old man of the trio, fired home, revealed that Busby’s spirit of youth development is intact. A frail Sir Bobby Charlton, whose 60-year association with the club was marked before kick-off, smiled and his wife, Lady Norma, put up a thumb.
It is more by accident than design that the two teenagers have arrived here: the irrepressible Rashford because United could find a striker last summer on whom to invest another small fortune, and Fosu-Mensah because the defender United paid £16m for, Marcos Rojo, has proved a waste of money. The Argentine struggled dreadfully against Everton’s Gerard Deulofeu before he was withdrawn for the teenager at half-time. Everton were certainly not steam-rollered aside. For much of the first half, the collective contribution of Deulofeu, Ross Barkley and the looming threat of Lukaku, with Aaron Lennon pressing hard, raised the perennial question of why a side of such talents can be as low as 12th.
But the encouragement for United came from the sight of Daley Blind, defensively unconvincing for many months, providing such excellent ballast, with Juan Mata again providing the creative component – bringing down beautifully the ball that the teenagers sent on for Martial to net. Blind did Rojo’s work for him until and Fosu-Mensah arrived. Everton’s defence is the aspect which lets them down and it cost them the points in a game of few opportunities. Seamus Coleman was slow to track Martial’s run to score and there was almost another calamity ten minutes later when a Mata cross from United’s left flank evaded Barkley, span through Phil Jagielka’s legs and left John Stones struggling to find some balance and clear. Stones had otherwise looked solid – a crunching tackle when Rashford’s quick feet and mind had helped navigate a ball through the central channel and into the penalty area for Martial, on 37 minutes. That belied the suggestions after his display for England against the Netherlands that he cannot defend. It said something for the quality of Everton’s final ball that they owed their own prime opportunity to Chris Smalling slipping on Old Trafford turf, allowing Lukaku to run through free on goal, where he found the advancing David de Gea up to the task on 25 minutes. United live to maintain the fight with Manchester City and West Ham in the chase that top four place. More significant for the years ahead are the names and youth of the personnel who kept them in the chase.

Anthony Martial hands Manchester United valuable 1-0 win over Everton
3 Apr 2016 Manchester Evening News
By Rob Dawson
Man Utd took on Everton in the Premier League and came away with a vital three points to stay in the race for fourth place.
United failed to have a shot on target in the first 45 minutes - the 13th time it's been 0-0 after the first half at Old Trafford this season. They took the lead after 53 minutes through Anthony Martial's close-range finish moments before Phil Jagielka hit the bar for Everton.
United: De Gea, Darmian, Rojo (Fosu-Mensah 45), Smalling, Blind (Valencia 83), Schneiderlin, Carrick (Herrera 58), Mata, Lingard, Martial, Rashford. Not used: Romero, Fellaini, Memphis, Young.
Analysis Louis van Gaal's team started slowly but made their one positive move of the game count when Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Martial combined to score just after half-time. There were nervy moments, as there always are watching United these days. But they deserved to win a game that looked one of the most difficult of the run-in.
Man of the match
It was one of Daley Blind's best games at centre-back. He could have crumbled against Romelu Lukaku, a striker who is quicker and stronger. But he gave as good as he got and was one of the main reasons Everton's main threat was so quiet.
Bigger picture
After City won so comfortably at Bournemouth, United needed to win to stay in the race for fourth place. It was never going to be easy against a team who have only lost once away from home all season but they managed to grind it out thanks to a well-worked goal.

Manchester United 1-0 Everton full time report: Martial goal sinks toothless Blues at Old Trafford
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Blues succumb to second away league defeat of the season after uninspiring performance
Anthony Martial's early second-half strike for Manchester United condemned a toothless Everton to a third successive Premier League defeat. The French winger tapped in at the back post after Tim Fosu-Mensah's deflected cross fell into his path nine minutes after the re-start. Everton almost levelled the game two minutes later when captain Phil Jagielka connected with a corner but he saw his bullet header crash back off the bar before he was denied by David De Gea from close range late on. Chances were at a premium for both sides at Old Trafford and the Blues finished the game with Jagielka's late effort as their only shot on target. Everton belatedly attacked with some urgency and Fosu-Mensah had to put in a last-ditch clearance to prevent Seamus Coleman's low cross reaching Romelu Lukaku in the six yard area. But it was too little, too late and the defeat, Everton's second away from home in the Premier League this season, leaves them in 12th position in the table with eight games remaining.

Anthony Martial’s winner against Everton sends Manchester United fifth
Man Utd 1 - 0 Everton
Jamie Jackson at Old Trafford
Sunday 3 April 2016 Guardian
Last modified on Monday 4 April 2016 00.45 BST
Manchester United’s victory over Everton on Sunday was derived from the youth and zest of Marcus Rashford, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Anthony Martial, who combined for the last of these three to score a sweet winner that ensures United maintain pressure on Manchester City in the race for the final Champions League berth. After West Ham United drew on Saturday Louis van Gaal’s side took full advantage to overtake them into fifth place with seven matches remaining. As the manager said: “I have said in the dressing room after the match that it was very important to win, otherwise the victory against City [in the derby] was worthless. We keep in touch, one point behind. We keep in touch with Arsenal, five points behind. We have to play Tottenham [on Sunday], not an easy match but normally we are playing very well against the top teams. If we continue like that I am very happy.”
Van Gaal was relieved as he detected fatigue following the international break, having to remove Marcos Rojo for Fosu-Mensah at half-time due to “jet lag”, and Blind towards the end to give him a breather. “It was more or less a stolen victory. We didn’t play so well, it looked like we were not fresh,” he said. “Daley Blind has played [virtually] every match and he is at the end of his strengths. I shall give him two days off.” United were fair value for the win, though they hardly convinced that they will romp home to the maximum 21 points and closing total of 75 that would surely secure the top-four finish they crave. The afternoon began with the South Stand being renamed after Sir Bobby Charlton and the injured Wayne Rooney bashfully waving a red flag along with the rest of the support to greet this tribute to one of the club’s legends. The on-field action commenced after the same XI that won the Mancunian derby strode out for United. It meant that day’s hero, Rashford, continuing as the No9, with Juan Mata and Martial either side of Jesse Lingard in the attacking trident behind. Everton had begun by swarming over United. In this period Gerard Deulofeu was their most potent option. Twice the Spaniard dismantled the home defence by skating beyond Rojo but each time there was no reward. Roberto Martínez dropped Muhamed Besic and Ramiro Funes Mori from the side that was beaten 2-0 by Arsenal at Goodison Park a fortnight ago, instead selecting John Stones and Deulofeu. Given the array of talent – led by Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, Stones, Seamus Coleman and Phil Jagielka – available to Martínez, it seemed a poor return for his team to arrive on 38 points from 29 outings. Yet as the opening half wore on and United pinned Everton back the clue to this low yield was in the lack of control offered by a midfield manned by Barkley, James McCarthy and Tom Cleverley. Instead Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick provided the platform on which Martial, Lingard, Mata and Rashford buzzed in and around the visitors’ area and when the referee, Andre Marriner, blew for the break Everton were fortunate still to be level. A stark fact, though, was that this was the 10th league game of 15 here that arrived at the interval goalless. As United began the second half hoping to break the deadlock and in search of their 1,000th Premier League goal in this stadium, Fosu-Mensah replaced Rojo and he popped up early on to deliver a cross. When United finally made the breakthrough the Dutchman was pivotal. Fosu-Mensah had swapped with Matteo Darmian, who moved into Rojo’s former role as the 18-year-old operated at right-back. It was from here that Fosu-Mensah again roved forward as Mata trapped the ball neatly and passed inside to Rashford. The striker’s back-heel into Fosu-Mensah was as clever as the cross that found Martial at the far post and he tapped home for a 13th goal of the season. Jagielka came close to puncturing Old Trafford’s joy instantly and relief. The visiting captain rose highest from a corner to beat David de Gea but the bar saved United. As the end neared Fosu-Mensah did the same when Everton pressed hard, superbly turning away a dangerous Coleman cross and United hung on.
At the final whistle the visitors were booed off by their fans, a response Martínez suggested was understood by the team. “You can hear our boos in the dressing room,” he said. “The frustration is we all see the quality we have.” Next Sunday Van Gal’s men hope to deflate Spurs’ title challenge and keep up their own bid to qualify for the European Cup. It promises to be another close affair.
Man of the match Anthony Martial (Manchester United)

Manchester United 1-0 Everton player ratings: Jagielka impresses as Lukaku and Coleman struggle
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (right) and Everton's Phil Jagielka battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Joel Robles 6
Handled most things that came his way proficiently but some of his kicks were a bit aimless. A bit unfortunate for the goal.
Seamus Coleman 5
Passing was a bit hit and miss and got caught uncharacteristically flat-footed for Martial's goal as the Frenchman beat him to the ball.
Leighton Baines 6
Defended soundly enough but his deliveries from set-pieces weren't as potent as they can be.
John Stones 6
Restored to the side at the expense of Ramiro Funes Mori, he was his usual cool and calm self but you could see that United targeted his tendency to dwell on the ball.
Phil Jagielka 8
Strong at the back as ever, the captain offered a significant threat going forward here, rattling the
James McCarthy 7
Battled back from an early knock that looked ominous to put in one of his usual lung-busting displays but for all his toiling there was little to show for his efforts.
Tom Cleverley 7
Eager to impress on his return to Old Trafford, the former Manchester United man displayed a few silky touches but was unable to fashion many chances.
Ross Barkley 6
Some strong running and good footwork at times but coming up against some well-drilled defenders this wasn't the most polished of afternoon's for the diamond.
Gerard Deulofeu 6
Recalled to the starting line-up in his preferred right-wing berth, he produced a few nice touches and dangerous crosses but made way for Kevin Mirallas just after the hour mark.
Aaron Lennon 6
Played in an unusual second striker role alongside Romelu Lukaku for over an hour but looked more effective once restored to his usual position on the flanks.
Romelu Lukaku 5
Everton's top scorer was linked to Manchester United in the build-up to this game and this was his big chance to impress them and other potential suitors but he was unable to make any inroads into their rearguard.
Kevin Mirallas (on for Deulofeu 62) 5
After surprising many by signing a new contract last summer, it's all gone wrong for the Belgian in what has been a stop-start season and given another chance to shine on a big stage for the last half an hour, he made little impact.
Oumar Niasse (on for Barkley 87) N/A
Another brief cameo from the £13.5million man who so far remains something of an enigma.

How Manchester United beat Everton 1-0 and why vibrant young forwards are transforming Louis van Gaal's fortunes
Manchester United v Everton: key match stats Play!
By Peter Ferguson, at old Trafford
3 April 2016 Telegraph
Everton were clearly low on confidence, having arrived at Old Trafford on the back of two consecutive defeats. Despite declaring an attacking intent - they have after all been more successful away from home than at Goodison Park - they needed big games from their leading players. However, Romelu Lukaku failed to impose himself in his battle with the more experienced Daley Blind, who kept him in tight check, and Ross Barkley, not for the first time, was unable to harness his great ability and make it count. While they threatened on more than one occasion to beat David De Gea, they struggled to keep up a record of four wins in their last seven games against United.
Van Gaal vindicated
Manchester United simply had more flair in the front line, where it mattered. While Lukaku struggled to master his constant companion Blind, the home side were able to look to their young, vibrant trio of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial.
Their movement and willingness to work for an opening kept Everton's defence on their toes, and it only needed one moment of magic - with Rashford involved in the move that resulted in Martial's 53rd-minute strike - to once more justify Louis van Gaal's bold philosophy of playing 'em young if they're good enough.
Fortress Old Trafford once more
United, for all their travails this season, are actually on a good, confidence-building run and strong once more at Old Trafford. This was their fourth successive home win, for the first time since a six-match streak in April last year.
The United dug-out
Louis van Gaal's Manchester United have the second best home recpord in the division Credit: Reuters
They have lost two Premier League games at home this season, a record only Leicester, the leaders and champions elect, can better. Indeed, United have won four of their last five league games, including the derby at the Etihad Stadium.
Man of the match
Marcus Rashford didn't add to his five goals in eight appearances since being sprung on the Old Trafford public by Louis van Gaal, but the young striker was always lively, looking for the ball, taking up the right positions and generally causing Everton problems.
Marcus Rashford
It was entirely appropriate that he should play a role in Martial's winner.
What do Manchester United need to work on?
Manchester United need to keep their nerve and get their heads down for a crucial month in which Louis van Gaal's men can not only stake a credible claim to a Champions League qualifying place, with "winnable" home games against doomed Aston Villa and struggling Crystal Palace to come, but also book a place in the FA Cup Final if they can overcome West Ham and then Everton in the semi-final.
What must Everton focus on now?
Everton must beware the danger of over-reliance on Lukaku, a potent goalscorer but inevitably the focus of attention for the opposition defence.
Romelu Lukaku
Especially if the striker, as feared, is heading for a summer departure with his ambition to play in the Champions League over-riding his loyalty to the club.
Juan Mata said on Sky Sports: "We wanted to win but we wanted to win in our way of playing, just trying to play the ball and create chances, and I think in the second half we did this very well. After scoring the first goal it was easier as they opened up. It was a very important win."
Chris Smalling said Louis van Gaal told his players at half-time they needed to control the game to get the result. "The first half we controlled it, but the second half we know there is so much to play for and it did get a bit scrappy," he said. "It was just a case of playing forward when we got the ball but staying patient, not being too direct, and trying to control the game." However, Everton boss Roberto Martínez was left frustrated by the result. "There were two games within a game," he told BBC Sport. "Up until the goal, we were the team with a better tempo and we always looked a threat. "The goal was a very soft action, it's not up to our standards. The performances were very, very level and we shouldn't have lost the game. "It's that sort of game that came down to small margins - the ball hitting the crossbar is the difference between us getting something out of the game. "We are a young group with great potential, but our home form hasn't been anywhere near good enough."

Manchester United 1-0 Everton analysis: Martinez doing himself no favours, Lukaku goes quiet, and the Niasse question
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Greg O'Keeffe sees positives in Stones' performance, but Blues undermined by inexplicable errors
Everton manager Roberto Martinez reacts on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Lukaku isolated and shackledThis was when Romelu Lukaku's feet were supposed to do the talking.
After all the turmoil caused by his wantaway comments on international duty the onus was on the big striker to produce this afternoon. The stage doesn't come much grander at this level than a packed Old Trafford, and for a man with supposedly bigger things on his mind you'd have hoped for a reaction.
It didn't help the 22-year-old's cause that he was frequently isolated, largely devoid of any quality service from those supposed to be around him. But even when he did get balls to his feet, the end product was negligible. The Blues striker was shackled by Daley Blind, and failed to take advantage of being deployed out wide in the opening stages against a supposedly weak link in Matteo Darmian.
Ratings Report Fan reaction Analysis Martinez: Players booing too Martinez hails John Stones Verdict

Stones shines on his return to the spotlight On an afternoon when positives were scant, the return of John Stones shone like a beacon. It wasn't just the evidence that he is slowly ironing out the tendency to over-play either. More heartening from the centre back was proof positive that he can do the bread and butter defending just fine when required. His first half penalty area challenge on Anthony Martial was immaculate, and his decision making was sound.
How do you explain the inexplicable?
For all the hand-wringing and brow-beating debate over just what is so damagingly wrong with Everton's defence, sometimes it's brutally simple. Sure it's baffling how a back four of such quality can so often be undone, but there was nothing perplexing about United's goal this time. Seamus Coleman just switched off. The right-back found himself the wrong side of Anthony Martial just before the Frenchman struck, and never looked like stopping him. Roberto Martinez is yet to muster a convincing argument for why his team is so fallible. But it doesn't help when top players produce such basic clangers either.
Nothing sparkling about Niasse situation
His bling-laden warm ups suggest he invested his joining fee heavily in Boodles gold, but there's precious little sparkling about Oumar Niasse so far. A late cameo at Old Trafford, taking his total contribution in a blue shirt so far to roughly half an hour, would do nothing to dissuade those who suspect Everton have wildly overpaid for the £13.5m import. It's difficult to understand, as Martinez suggests, how a minor wrist procedure has prevented him from being more than "50-60% fit". Indeed for a player who proclaimed his own USP as a willingness to run the hard yards, it's extra disconcerting. Yes, it's still to early to judge him, but if you hear the sound of nervous laughter emanating from a back office in Finch Farm, it's probably the scout who recommended him.
Let's hope he proves these dismal first impressions wrong.
Martinez doing himself few favours with disgruntled supporters
Asked whether he'd heard the boos from the away end at the final whistle, Roberto Martinez countered that we should have heard the boos in the away dressing room. He seemed to mean that he and his players were as unhappy with their third straight Premier League defeat as the club's supporters.
The virulent dissatisfaction from many Everton fans at the moment means that if Martinez was right, his players must have been kicking lumps in the wall deep in the bowls of Old Trafford.
They must have been sending water bottles scattering like bowling pins.
Because Evertonians really aren't happy right now.
And they don't see reminders that their team reached one semi-final, in the League Cup, and remain in another as acceptable mitigation however often the manager reminds them. The Catalan is a man under pressure. His team's results have ensured that, and whatever he says publicly he is no fool. He knows it. So it would serve him better to soften the stubbornly contrary assessments of displays that simply aren't good enough. Not by the standards he's already set, certainly not by the standards of the squad at his disposal.

Roberto Martinez hails John Stones' maturity - 'He didn't put a foot wrong'
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Stones excelled on his return to the side in place of Ramiro Funes Mori
John Stones' maturity was hailed by Roberto Martinez who believes the England centre-back didn't put a foot wrong on his Everton return. The Yorkshireman hasn't started for the Blues since he was withdrawn against West Ham at half-time but after turning out for England against the Netherlands on Tuesday he was restored to the side at the expense of Ramiro Funes Mori. Martinez said: “I thought it was a very mature performance. With John Stones we always talk about the things that he doesn't do well but as a young boy we should highlight the things that he does well. “He didn't put a foot wrong. I think his decisions of when to take time on the ball and when not to was spot on.

“His defensive intensity was really good. He looked refreshed to me, he doesn't look a player who has already played 24 games in the Premier League [this season] which is a big amount. “I can see a refreshed player who is growing all the time and I think that he can cope with anything that is surrounding his figure as a footballer. At 21, I think his display was very strong.”
Martinez was also encouraged with the display of Aaron Lennon, who with Gerard Deulofeu restored on the right wing, operated as a second striker alongside Romelu Lukaku for over an hour.
He said: “I was very pleased. I think Aaron Lennon is in a very good moment of his career.
“His experience allows him to play in different roles. We wanted to isolate Romelu in one v one situations and use his pace and penetrate. “I think at times we got in terrific positions and maybe we didn't take advantage well enough. “I thought we worried Manchester United, the way they were defending and I think that gave us a bit more space in other areas and allowed us to have a better control of what we wanted to do. It was very intelligent and very clever. “I think Gerard Deulofeu is going to be very strong between now and the end of the season. “He's played a lot of games this season and probably after 60 minutes there was a bit of a need to get new energy on the pitch but I thought Aaron did extremely well in that role.”

Roberto Martinez: Everton players just as unhappy as the fans
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
The Everton boss says that the there were boos in the dressing room after the defeat to United at Old Trafford
Roberto Martinez insisted the boos in the Everton dressing room matched those in the away end at Old Trafford as his side limped to a tame 1-0 defeat to Manchester United . Asked if he realised that supporters are frustrated with the Blues Premier League form, the Catalan responded: “We all are. You could hear our boos in the dressing room. It's exactly the same, we're a football club that over the last three years there has been a bit of a change of generation. “A lot of players that have come into the scene, we have given them big roles. I believe that they have got incredible talent, and incredible young talent needs know-how, lessons and it needs to develop. “The disappointment and the frustration that we all have is that we can see the quality that we have in our squad and we can gain some sort of momentum. “It's 1984 since the last time we got into two semi-finals of domestic cups so I think this generation can make us very, very successful.” The loss was Everton's third in their last four Premier League matches – a sequence only broken by the 3-1 success at rock bottom Aston Villa – but Martinez refuted claims that the level of his team's performances has declined in recent weeks.
He said: “I wouldn't agree with that. Our performance against Aston Villa was very good; our performance against West Ham, where with 10 men we were the better side for 78 minutes then in 12 minutes we lost the game. Then we had an outstanding performance against Chelsea, a team who are undefeated in the league under their new manager and got into the semi-finals of the FA Cup. We had a really poor performance against Arsenal and I don't think we coped with not having Gareth Barry around. “We're a team that probably needed direction with outstanding footballers and outstanding young talent, but we need that guidance and that experienced head. “Today was different. I think we finished the game in a very different manner. We came with a strong mentality, the only criticism I have is that we're a lot better in the things we didn't do well today.”
Ratings Report Fan reaction Analysis Martinez: Players booing too Martinez hails John Stones Verdict
Despite a disappointing run that sees his team on course for a second consecutive bottom half finish in the Premier League, Martinez insists his players have shown an ability to perform in big moments.
He said: “What we want to do is in the next two months make sure we're still involved in two competitions. “We got to the semi-final of the League Cup and were very unfortunate not to get to the final and now we're in the semi-final of the FA Cup and going to Wembley. That shows you the mentality of the group is growing all the time and we're starting to know how to progress in those big moments.
“In my league my only criticism is the results at home. The results away have been consistent, we've been very strong and have played eye to eye with everyone. What we need to correct is finding enjoyment of playing in front of our fans with the talent that we have.”

Manchester United 1-0 Everton the verdict: Blues were toothless, blunt and apologetic
3 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Phil Kirkbride reflects on a day when the boos from the away end spoke volumes
If there are any merits to languishing in mid-table mediocrity then it's that you have nothing to lose.
So why then, did Everton play for long spells against Manchester United like they had? This sorry league campaign ran its course weeks ago with hopes of European qualification evaporating well before the clocks went forward. Yet instead of Roberto Martinez's side playing with freedom and with the shackles off, they left it until the final few minutes to have a go at the home side. Depressingly, but perhaps tellingly of where they currently find themselves, Phil Jagielka's close range strike, saved by David De Gea seven minutes from time, was their only shot on target in the whole game. In years gone by, you'd be thankful for that at Old Trafford but this is no longer a place, or a team, to fear.
But Everton didn't attack like that was the case.
Only in fits and starts during the first-half, and then belatedly in the second, did they exert the kind of pressure that they should have done on this bang-average United side.
Bold selection, but not enough adventure
Martinez's team selection looked bold, it appeared brave and promised to be exciting but the brutal truth of the matter was that his team's performance was anything but. After 45 minutes there was much to admire about the way Everton had played. They pressed the ball well, there were organised and comfortable in defence and darts to the by-line from Gerard Deulofeu and Aaron Lennon offered hope for better in the second-half. But it didn't arrive and when Anthony Martial tapped in at the back post, nine minutes after the re-start, getting on the end of Tim Fosu-Mensah's deflected cross, it deflated the Blues. Seeing Jagielka's bullet header two minutes later crash back off the bar, seemed to eat at their belief even more and they looked lost. Only in the closing stages did Everton's heads lift but it was all too little, too late. Jagielka was denied by De Gea, Tom Cleverley had a goal-bound effort blocked and Seamus Coleman's dangerous cross was cleared brilliantly by Fosu-Mensah, but that was the sum of their efforts. And it wasn't good enough. The boos from the away told you as much.
Not as bad as Arsenal, but not much better
When Romelu Lukaku is in the game then so are the Blues yet the Belgian was isolated for far too long at Old Trafford, often trying to fend off the advances of two or three defenders at once with little or no support around him. At times it felt like they were simply expecting him to feed him the ball and watch a repeat of his wonder-goal against Chelsea. But Martinez's team selection suggested that wouldn't be the case. Deulofeu and Lennon would be there to offer pace and a threat either side of him and Ross Barkley would be on hand to drive through the middle and link up with their top scorer.
Oh, if only.
The Blues boss recently said he would always defend any player who wanted to be brave but there weren't many out there he could truly make a case for. They were stale against Arsenal before the international break but Martinez had promised us it was a one-off and though his side weren't as bad today, they weren't much better. This should have been, for so many reasons, an Everton performance at full tilt, with threat on the counter-attack, chances aplenty and goals.
But the Blues were toothless. Blunt. Apologetic.
There will be no second chances at Wembley

What did they have to lose by being adventurous?
What is the worst that could have happened if they had committed to getting more men in and around Lukaku and encouraged the full-backs to over-lap? United fans feared for an out-of-sorts Matteo Darmian heading into this game, yet he cruised through the 90 minutes. Nobody was asking Everton to be reckless but the least the supporters can expect, between now and the end of the season, is for their team to go at the opposition, rather than meekly surrender. It was that kind of plucky, damage-limitation mentality that Martinez has tried to rid Everton of but many will have left Manchester asking why his side looked so scared today? The biggest game of their season is a winner takes all shoot-out at Wembley where shrinking violets will be chewed up and spat out. There will be no second chances on April 23 so it's worrying that Everton played with such apathy, until late on this afternoon.
Martinez and his players can still save this season from the jaws of failure but they can only do that by winning the FA Cup yet should Everton end up facing United in the semi-final, and play like they did here, then they will lose. That is for sure. And whether you believe in Martinez or have lost faith, it can be agreed upon that Everton have at least been thrilling to watch this season, lethal at one end, leaky at the other.

Roberto Martinez: We are all fed up. You can hear our boos in the dressing room
3 April 2016 Telegraph
By Pete Ferguson, at Old Trafford
Roberto Martínez, the Everton manager, revealed the depths of his team’s frustration in the aftermath of the 1-0 Premier League defeat at Manchester United, their third in succession.
Told that many of Everton’s 3,500 following at Old Trafford had booed at the final whistle because they were “fed up”, Martínez replied: “We all are. You can hear our boos in the dressing room.”
Everton began brightly but had no cutting edge as Romelu Lukaku was superbly policed by Daley Blind, and Anthony Martial clinched United’s fourth win in five League games with a 53rd-minute goal.
Martinez, whose team have lost eight League games at Goodison Park this season, pointed to Everton’s cup exploits as a sign that his team is a work in progress. He said: “We are a club where there has been a bit of a change of generation. A lot of players have come in. Incredible young talent needs know-how and lessons, and to develop. The frustration is that we all see the quality we have in our squad. It was 1984 the last time we got into the semi-finals of the two domestic cups.”
Everton hit the bar through Phil Jagielka, their captain, but that was the closest they came to a point.
Martinez said: “It is fair to say we adapted to the game really well. Maybe we shocked Manchester United a little bit. They never seemed to feel comfortable. “We didn’t use the opportunities of great one-on-ones well enough. The second half, we have got into a comfortable mood, we switched off in one action which was an unfortunate easy goal to concede, and that moment was a massive blow.
“You don’t expect to concede when you are well in the game. The reaction was straight away hitting the bar and the reaction was more with our heart than our head, that is our only disappointment.”
Louis van Gaal, the United manager, believes his team are on track to qualify for the Champions League after their fourth win in five League games.
He said: “I have said in the dressing room that it was very important to win today, otherwise the victory against [Manchester] City was worthless. We keep in touch with City, one point behind, and we keep in touch with Arsenal, five points behind. “We have to play Tottenham [next], not an easy match, but normally we are playing very well against the top teams. If we continue like that, I am very happy.”

Manchester United 1 Everton 0: Five things we learned from United's narrow win over Everton
4 Apr 2016 Welsh Daily Post
By Press Association Sport
Stones is a work in progress plus four other things we learnt from a key game at Old Trafford
Manchester United beat Everton 1-0 in Sunday's Premier League clash at Old Trafford.
Anthony Martial scored the only goal of the game to give Louis van Gaal's men a crucial victory and keep alive their hopes of finishing in the Champion's League spots.
Here are five things we learned from the game.
Stones remains a work in progress
After a frustrating slip amid an otherwise solid performance for England in midweek, John Stones was back in the centre of Everton's defence and again underlining his enormous potential. He looked composed and commanding for much of the game but the occasional lapse of concentration showed he still has work to do to find consistent excellence.
Despite failing to hit top gear yet again, United's victory took them back within a point of fourth-placed Manchester City and their hopes of Champions League football next season are still alive. Manager Louis van Gaal, for all the speculation about his future in recent months, also remains in position after digging out another result. United may not be the most dynamic of teams but their points tally for a side supposedly struggling is not at all bad. United's brightest play came from their forwards but it was easy to see why they have been linked with Everton's Romelu Lukaku, even though he did not score. The Belgian was strong and a handful for the United defence throughout. He had to play with his back to goal a lot but still looked highly dangerous. Ross Barkley did not have his most influential game for Everton but he still overshadowed United's midfielders in the first half.
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford linked well at times and even though the latter has only recently burst onto the scene, their understanding already seems a good one. Their partnership is one that could prosper, although these are still very early days. Read: Manchester United's Anthony Martial is as good as Thierry Henry was at his age says Louis Saha
Crucial time for Carrick
Michael Carrick had a disappointing game in the United midfield. The normal accurate passing that in the past has quickly turned defence in attack was missing and he gave the ball away several times. He was withdrawn before the hour and, with his contract due to expire in the summer, the closing weeks of the season could be crucial with regards to his future.

Everton transfer rumours: Blues battle Manchester United for Dutch striker
4 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
The latest Everton FC transfer gossip from around the web
Everton are interested in a move for Dutch striker Vincent Janssen, according to reports in the Netherlands. But they will have to battle Manchester United if they want to secure his signature.
De Telegraaf says that Janssen was scouted by the Blues, United and Paris St-Germain on Saturday as AZ Alkmaar lost 4-2 at home to Dutch title challengers PSV. The 21-year-old had scored in seven consecutive Eredivisie games but drew a blank in their defeat to PSV. His form has seen him become a part of Danny Blind's Dutch squad, with the Heesch-born forward netting a penalty in their 2-1 win over England at Wembley last week. After the game, Janssen said: “I wanted to win and it did not work today. It was no one’s fault. We failed as a team.”

Everton players warned to improve or miss out on FA Cup semi-final
4 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Blues captain Phil Jagielka tells players to put form right or risk place at Wembley
Phil Jagielka has warned Everton’s under-performing players they are putting their FA Cup semi-final places at risk. The Blues slumped to a third consecutive Premier League defeat with a 1-0 loss at Manchester United on Sunday. Everton put in a limp display and Jagielka says the players must buck up their ideas over the next four games otherwise they’ll miss out on a date at Wembley. Everton go to Watford on Saturday before a trip to Crystal Palace, a home game with Southampton and the Merseyside derby. “We need to keep playing to our strengths and try find some confidence,” the Blues captain said. “We have got some big games coming up before we get to the semi-final and I’ve said before that if you want to play in the semi-final then you need to make sure your form in the league is pretty decent. “So there is a lot to play for between now and then and it’s up to us to turn this little run of losses into something better.”

Everton talking point: Who was booing who in Blues dressing room?
4 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Season now on a knife edge as dissent grows
Just who was booing who in Everton’s dressing room?
You can only presume that manager Roberto Martinez was figuratively speaking when he declared: “You could hear our boos in the dressing room, it’s exactly the same,” in answering a question about the audible frustrations of the away fans at Old Trafford. While the Premier League campaign has been a miserable one for Evertonians and is now beyond redemption, thanks to the vagaries of the FA Cup, 2016 can still be a golden year for the Blues. Just two more wins are required for this group to write their way into Goodison folklore but not for a long time has an entire Everton season and the potential futures of so many balanced on a knife edge like this. That statistic being trotted out by the manager about reaching two domestic cup semi-finals for the first time in 32 years cannot save this situation alone but fortunately for Martinez, football is ultimately about moments of glory and the winning of trophies so while Everton are still in the FA Cup there is hope. Everton mana
ger Roberto Martinez reacts on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Although they contained a smattering of ageing all-time greats such as goalkeeper Neville Southall and captain Dave Watson, Everton’s 1995 team were far from being one of the club’s strongest teams – and had only just avoided relegation before defeating Manchester United in the FA Cup final – but their place in Blues history is secured forever thanks to their deeds on one day. Joe Royle would only preside over one full season as Everton manager but his name will always be etched on the honours board. The same goes for the affable Catalan but the negotiation of this process has now become something of a tightrope walk. Given that to achieve this aim the Blues will first have to overcome the winners of the West Ham/Manchester United replay, would you now fancy a repeat against Louis van Gaal’s side? Old Trafford has been the stadium of slumber rather than th
e ‘Theatre of Dreams’ for most of this season due to a series of dull encounters but few among the Stretford End hordes will have been concerned with the latest snore fest, as a below par United recorded what their own manager described as a “stolen victory.” The visitors were as guilty as their opponents in creating such a lacklustre spectacle and it was sadly ironic that a team for all their faults have still been the great entertainers this season, went down with a whimper for the second consecutive fixture rather than all guns blazing. And there we have the crux of the problem.
In the pitiful capitulations against Bournemouth, Chelsea and West Ham, there had nevertheless been moments of brilliance and positive play. Following on from the limp showing against Arsenal and the fortnight of brooding that should have followed, where was the reaction and the fire in the bellies? The most damning indictment you can label at any football team is that they don’t appear to be playing to their full potential for their manager yet that was the conclusion reached by several Evertonian observers following this latest sorry showing.

Everton: We looked strong insists Stones
4 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
It was only a few months ago that John Stones was the subject of a high profile transfer saga involving several bids from Chelsea, with Jose Mourinho convinced that the Barnsley-born defender would be the ideal long term successor to John Terry. The move never materialised and Stones has recently endured the toughest period of his career to date having fallen out of favour during the latter half of the season,
losing his place in the side to Ramiro Funes Mori.
Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford saw Stones recalled to Everton’s starting line up alongside Phil Jagielka. Making just his second start for the club since late January, Stones found little consolation in his reinstatement after the Blues suffered another disappointing result in a forgettable Premier League season. In a mixed performance for the England defender, Stones made a perfectly timed tackle on Anthony Martial in the first half, while his recent struggles appear to have done little damage his confidence on the ball as he displayed a willingness to play out from the back.
After a promising opening 45 minutes, Stones was partially at fault along with Seamus Coleman, as the pair were caught napping as Martial found space to score the decisive goal in the 53rd minute from Fosu-Mensah’s cross. The defeat leaves Everton lingering 12th in the table and Stones spoke of his frustration that his side left empty handed after a performance which could have yielded a more positive result. Stones said: “There were a lot of unlucky things that happened to us. We hit the bar and had chances to win the game but the things that are going wrong are costing us. “You’ve got to take some positives. Defensively, I thought we looked strong, except for the goal which crept in at the back post.” While there is an overwhelming sense that Everton are underachieving this season, Stones maintains a belief that his side are capable of better. He told evertonTV: “We have got the players and have got the work-rate. We need to look in the right direction.” Evert
on travel to Vicarage Road on Saturday to face a Watford side who drew 2-2 in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season. The Hornets sit in 14th place, 10 points above the relegation zone, but Quique Sanchez Flores’ side have lost their last four games.

Leighton Baines worried that Everton players have no chemistry
4 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Leighton Baines has lifted the lid on Everton’s troubles by admitting: 'There’s no chemistry between the players right now'. The Blues slumped to a third successive Premier League defeat on Sunday, as they lost 1-0 at Manchester United. In a typically honest assessment of Everton’s plight, Baines says the players have let the Blues fans down and that FA Cup success is the only way to repay their support. The left-back admits Everton’s season now hinges on their semi-final at Wembley later this month but insists that performances and results in the Premier League games either side do matter.
But Baines says that if the Blues are to drag themselves out of this rut then and take some form into the FA Cup then they players quickly need to rediscover their understanding with each other.
“You are only really secure as individuals when you are winning games but even then we will make changes from time to time with what is required tactically,” Baines told the ECHO.
“I don’t think there is anyone expecting to have their name pencilled in for that game (FA Cup semi-final).” “But the motivation should be getting your name there,” he added. “I just don’t feel as though the chemistry is quite there with the team on the pitch at the moment, and it hasn’t been for a while. “We are maybe leaning too heavily on individuals to come up with something.
“We’re in games, we were in the game on Sunday and had a couple of chances, but we’re not performing as a team to the level we know we can or we should be. “Results have an impact on that because chemistry and confidence go hand in hand, if you start winning games. “Look at the teams who are having success this year and you’d say they have chemistry. “If I had to say one thing, I just don’t know if it’s there with us at the moment, for whatever reason.” Everton are languishing in 12th in the table, on 38 points, with eight games remaining. The Blues’ home form has been wretched this season but they have fared much better on the road. But after a limp display, they fell to a second away defeat in the league of the campaign at Old Trafford on Sunday. “It’s another game where we have come away without a win and we’re not where we should be,” Baines said.
“We haven’t won enough games to make excuses. “You get judged at the end of the season, and we’re getting towards the end of the season, and we’re not near a position we should be in given what we’ve got. “We’re all accountable. We try and put it right but we’ve not been able to. That’s the third loss on the bounce in the league which is disappointing to us all. “We want to win everytime we go out to play and we’d like to go into that cup game with a few wins behind us.
“That’s our season in some respects now, it certainly is from the fans’ point of view and we’ve let them down a lot, it’s our only way of making it up to them. “To go on and have success in the Cup now. You had the travelling fans there again on Sunday and they are amazing, they follow us wherever we go and generally they have seen us win a few games this season but unfortunately we weren’t able to give them the result or performance we wanted to."

Everton: Can Lukaku and Lennon be an effective partnership?
4 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Classic Blues big man/small man combinations
Aaron Lennon started up front for Everton against Manchester United Picture: Vincent Cole
Everton manager Roberto Martinez went retro at Old Trafford as he fielded a classic big man-small man strike force against Manchester United with Aaron Lennon moving inside from the wing to partner Romelu Lukaku up front. It was an intriguing call. Like many modern strikers Lukaku often ploughs a lone furrow with any kind of partnership in the forward line becoming increasingly rare.
The experiment failed to bear fruit as the Blues drew a blank with Lennon heading back out to his regular position for the final half an hour after Gerard Deulofeu was substituted.
However, that hasn’t always been the case in the past with Everton enjoying several little and large combinations in attack throughout their history. How it worked: With Wayne Rooney just starting out and David Moyes cautious not to burn out his precocious young star, the Scot would often turn to his compatriot and the Polish-born Canadian. How it worked: A hugely promising partnership at the turn of the millennium, experienced Londoner Campbell and Scouse rookie Jeffers quickly built up an excellent understanding. The pair’s talents dovetailed perfectly with ‘Super Kev’ a regular scorer and Jeffers impressing with his clever off-the-ball runs. The pairing was prematurely broken up when Jeffers headed south to join Campbell’s first club Arsenal.
How it worked: Despite doubts from outside, Sharp combined well with fellow Scot and target man Andy Gray when Heath was cruelly injured in the glorious 1984/85 campaign, but either side of that he forged a devastatingly effective pairing with the little man from the Potteries. Ivan Ponting says in Everton Player by Player “Their partnership was never demonstrated to more devastating effect than at Maine Road in 1982 when ‘Inchy’ skipped over a through-pass before scampering into space, whereupon Graeme clipped the ball into the path of his nippy partner, who drove it home from 20 yards.” How it worked: There was uproar among some Evertonians when manager Harry Catterick initially dropped ‘The Golden Vision’ Alex Young at Blackpool in January 1966 to make a 16-year-old Joe Royle the Blues’ youngest player. However, later on the pair played alongside each other on several occasions. As well as being dominant in the air, Royle was deceptively good on the ground, effecti
vely retaining possession while linking up with those around him. In contrast, the elegant Young was said to stroke the ball rather than kick it. For Everton it was just a shame that the Scot was reaching the autumn of his career at the same time that Royle was starting out.
Dixie Dean and Jimmy Dunn
How it worked: Dean, the greatest goalscorer in the history of both Everton and English football history had several strong supporting cast members around him and one of the most able was diminutive Scot Jimmy Dunn. Despite arriving at Goodison in the fateful 1929/30 campaign when Everton finished rock bottom, Dunn who failed to find the net in 13 outings that season, bounced back strongly with the Blues and helped them to complete a hat-trick of Second Division title, First Division title and FA Cup in three consecutive seasons, climaxing with the 3-0 victory over Manchester City at Wembley in 1933 when both he and Dean scored.

Michael Ball: Everton's players need to look at themselves
4 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Michael Ball
The players need to look at themselves. They need to look at their own performances and ask if there was anymore they could have done. Could the defenders have stopped more crosses?
Could the midfielders have won more tackles and made better passes? And could the forwards have had more shots on goal? After Sunday’s defeat at Manchester United, I’m not sure many players could say they did everything they possibly could have. I was left with the feeling that the team have gone into the game ill-prepared and asked to play in the same system in the hope that it will work out. We had possession in all the wrong areas at Old Trafford and the team lacked direction.
Sure we hit the bar and had a late effort well saved but Man United are, right now, an average side and we didn’t capitalise on that. In truth, they looked so comfortable and Everton had the look of a side waiting for them to make a mistake, rather than one trying to force mistakes. I was fairly happy at half-time but then the Blues did what they so often do and let the opposition into the game, giving them time and space, making it easy for them. We were too nice and didn’t persist with that pressure we had applied in the first-half and it doesn’t feel as though we are trying to exploit the weaknesses of other teams. We need to look at Watford’s weaknesses and work on them all week at Finch Farm. I see the game at Vicarage Road as a massive, massive opportunity for our defence to regain some confidence and for our attacking players to do the same.
It feels like our lads are passing the buck
It was really interesting to read Leighton Baines’ assessment that there is a lack of chemistry in the team at the moment.
It shows.
The fans can see it as well and the players are not playing together, it feels as though they are passing the buck. If our danger players have an off day then so does the team and there does not appear to be many others who can step up to the mark. When Everton click, they are a fantastic team to watch but that’s not the case at present. Individually the players have got it in them but this is a team game and, for example, we simply didn’t get the ball to Lukaku in the right positions enough on Sunday where he had the ball at his feet and he could run at or roll Daley Blind.
Defence is playing too deep
Part of Everton’s problem at the moment is that their back four are too deep.
They don’t lack pace in defence and so by pushing up it gives the midfield the opportunity to get at the opposition and press hard. At the moment, the back four are 10-15 yards too deep. And it contributes to Everton being stretched which, in turn, makes it easier for the opposition to play against us. If you look at Man United’s goal on Sunday, Lukaku and Lennon press high but nobody else does, the midfield and defence are too far apart and they play through us. We’re playing with too much safety, not being brave enough to step up and play offside and not trusting each other.
No 'what ifs' this summer
Everton cannot go into the summer thinking ‘what if’.
I always tell people about the time we were going through a bad spell and Richard Gough would get the lads together for a team meeting. Sometimes it would be case of team bonding but other times it would be about everybody getting things off their chest and being honest with each other.
It didn’t half make a difference.
The Everton players need to do that now. There are eight games in the league and an FA Cup semi-final left in the season - and hopefully a final - so they need to make sure that they end the campaign playing with passion and heart. That is what the fans want to see.

Leighton Baines blames Everton’s run of defeats on lack of teamwork
• Fans believe Everton should be higher in the league based on squad’s talent
• Despite their poor form Everton are in the semi-finals of the FA Cup
Monday 4 April 2016 Guardian
Leighton Baines has claimed Everton’s players lack chemistry following a third successive Premier League defeat at the weekend. Everton fell to a 1-0 loss at Manchester United on Sunday and were booed off by the travelling fans, whose side are 12th in the table and level on points with Bournemouth. Although Roberto Martínez’s side have an FA Cup semi-final to contest later this month, their league form has frustrated supporters who believe a squad featuring John Stones, Ross Barkley and the 25-goal striker Romelu Lukaku should be higher up the division. Baines insists Everton’s current team are not gelling together as they should. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, he said: “I just don’t feel as though the chemistry is quite there with the team on the pitch at the moment, and it hasn’t been for a while. “We are maybe leaning too heavily on individuals to come up with something. “We’re in games; we were in the game on Sunday and had a couple of chances, but we’re
not performing as a team to the level we know we can or we should be. “Results have an impact on that because chemistry and confidence go hand in hand. Look at the teams who are having success this year and you’d say they have chemistry. “If I had to say one thing, I just don’t know if it’s there with us at the moment, for whatever reason.” With 13 points separating Everton and sixth-placed West Ham, European qualification through the league is now seemingly out of reach. Baines has therefore urged his team-mates to put things right ahead of their semi-final date at Wembley to try and salvage what is turning out to be a disappointing campaign.
“We’re not where we should be,” the 31-year-old said.
“We haven’t won enough games to make excuses. You get judged at the end of the season and we’re getting towards the end of the season, and we’re not near a position we should be in given what we’ve got. “We’re all accountable. We try and put it right but we’ve not been able to. That’s the third loss on the bounce in the league which is disappointing to us all. “We want to win every time we go out to play and we’d like to go into that cup game with a few wins behind us. That’s our season in some respects now, it certainly is from the fans’ point of view and we’ve let them down a lot, it’s our only way of making it up to them.”

Everton fans do not want Martinez to rest stars for Merseyside Derby
5 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Almost two thirds of Blues say no to wholesale changes at Anfield
Evertonians do not want Roberto Martinez to make wholesale changes for the Merseyside Derby despite the Blues trip to face neighbours Liverpool coming less than 72 hours before their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Everton’s selection policy for the rearranged fixture against the Reds has been a hot topic among fans with some believing that given the importance of the FA Cup to a club who have not won a trophy for 21 years and their mid-table position in the Premier League, the Blues should rest most of their major stars at Anfield. However, given the 16-and-a-half year wait since Kevin Campbell’s winner for an Everton victory across Stanley Park and the many painful displays for Blues fans in derbies since, other supporters feel that personal pride cannot be sacrificed so easily. Following an ECHO poll in which we asked readers “Should Roberto Martinez make wholesale changes at Anfield ahead of the FA Cup semi-final?”, almost two thirds of those responding said no. The ful
l result was 34% yes and 66% no which echoed the sentiments of Blues fan David Downie in last week’s View from the Gwladys Street from which the poll was launched.
Downie said: “Giving up that game regardless of what is to come is managerial suicide and I don’t think the benefits of resting players in that game outweigh that all too familiar feeling of being humbled at Anfield. But I’m just sick of not turning up in that game.”

Roberto Martinez could be new boss of Spain, says current manager
5 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Everton manager named as potential successor with Vicente Del Bosque to step down after Euro 2016
Could the Everton manager become the new Spain coach in the future?
Roberto Martinez could become the new manager of Spain. The Everton boss has been named by Vicente Del Bosque as a candidate to replace him when he steps down after Euro 2016. Del Bosque also lists Rafa Benitez as a potential new manager of the Spanish national team but Martinez’s name is being discussed by the national team executives. “There are many good Spanish managers - Benitez, Roberto Martinez, Julen Lopetegui (former Porto boss),” Del Bosque is quoted as saying.
“Finding a new manager is very easy.” Rafael Benitez has also been mentioned by Del Bosque as a potential successor Martinez is contracted to Everton until the summer of 2019 and recently spoke about wanting to create a dynasty at Goodison. He said: “The focus now goes onto the owners, what is the plan and what is the strategy behind their football clubs,” Martinez said. “Every manager goes through good and bad periods and it’s how the manager fits into that role of building a football club. I don’t think every manager knows how to build a football club, that’s the truth.”

How Everton cannot afford another FA Cup missed opportunity over the next week
5 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
Blues did not lay a glove on potential cup semi opponents Manchester United - but they can rectify that now
Old Trafford was one big missed opportunity for Everton. The opportunity of a second win away at Manchester United in three seasons, missed. The opportunity of a much-needed victory, just their fifth in the past 17 league games, missed. The opportunity for Roberto Martinez to relieve some of the pressure put upon him by some disgruntled supporters, missed. The most important miss, though, may relate to something in the future, rather than the present. The Blues could meet Louis van Gaal’s side again this season, at Wembley, if United prosper against West Ham in their FA Cup quarter final replay. If that is to be the semi final, then not one United player will face it with trepidation if using Sunday’s match as evidence. There are a number of reasons for United to head into a potential Wembley clash with the Blues on edge – Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley to name two – but Martinez’s side hardly laid a glove on them at Old Trafford. Nor did it look like there was much
intention to. If it is to be United on April 23, the chance to instil more doubt in the mind of the opposition is gone. It is something that cannot happen again, and the Toffees have a chance to put that right over the next week. Before their Wembley semi, they meet both Watford and Crystal Palace – their potential FA Cup final opponents. Everton manager Roberto Martinez reacts on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Trips to Vicarage Road and Selhurst Park are unappealing in normal circumstances, but the Blues should relish these two games as an opportunity to do what they couldn’t do against United.
Win, and win well.
That has not happened often enough for the Blues this season, but now is the time to start. Good performances against the London duo could prove pivotal come May. It may seem a fleeting notion, and one that is in the distance given there is still a semi final to negotiate, but what better way to assert authority than a strong performance a month earlier? Better still, there is the potential to do it to either team, so the result of the Sunday semi final will matter little to the Blues. It feels like a unique position to be in. Of the four teams Everton know they could still meet in the competition, they will have faced three of them within the space of a few weeks. Take the fourth of those sides, West Ham. They are enjoying a much better season than the Blues, but the presence of Romelu Lukaku would be enough for Everton to go into a potential semi with them with confidence.
There was none of that against United, sadly – but Watford and Palace can be different.

Football is never that simple, of course. Beating a team earlier in the season is no guarantee of it being done once more. But a potential final against Watford or Palace would see Martinez’s side line up as favourites – a tag that could hinder them, particularly if the Hornets or Eagles are buoyed by their efforts against Everton on their home turf. It is for Everton to eliminate all hope over the next week; first at Watford on Saturday, and then Palace next Wednesday. Their league campaign may be over prematurely, but it can still be a vehicle to cup success. Martinez must take control and drive them forward to Wembley.

Leighton Baines worried that Everton players have no chemistry
4 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Leighton Baines has lifted the lid on Everton’s troubles by admitting: 'There’s no chemistry between the players right now'. The Blues slumped to a third successive Premier League defeat on Sunday, as they lost 1-0 at Manchester United. In a typically honest assessment of Everton’s plight, Baines says the players have let the Blues fans down and that FA Cup success is the only way to repay their support. The left-back admits Everton’s season now hinges on their semi-final at Wembley later this month but insists that performances and results in the Premier League games either side do matter.
But Baines says that if the Blues are to drag themselves out of this rut then and take some form into the FA Cup then they players quickly need to rediscover their understanding with each other.
“You are only really secure as individuals when you are winning games but even then we will make changes from time to time with what is required tactically,” Baines told the ECHO.
“I don’t think there is anyone expecting to have their name pencilled in for that game (FA Cup semi-final).” “But the motivation should be getting your name there,” he added. “I just don’t feel as though the chemistry is quite there with the team on the pitch at the moment, and it hasn’t been for a while. “We are maybe leaning too heavily on individuals to come up with something.
“We’re in games, we were in the game on Sunday and had a couple of chances, but we’re not performing as a team to the level we know we can or we should be.
“Results have an impact on that because chemistry and confidence go hand in hand, if you start winning games. “Look at the teams who are having success this year and you’d say they have chemistry. Everton are languishing in 12th in the table, on 38 points, with eight games remaining.
The Blues’ home form has been wretched this season but they have fared much better on the road.
But after a limp display, they fell to a second away defeat in the league of the campaign at Old Trafford on Sunday. “It’s another game where we have come away without a win and we’re not where we should be,” Baines said. “We haven’t won enough games to make excuses.
“You get judged at the end of the season, and we’re getting towards the end of the season, and we’re not near a position we should be in given what we’ve got. “We’re all accountable. We try and put it right but we’ve not been able to. That’s the third loss on the bounce in the league which is disappointing to us all. “We want to win everytime we go out to play and we’d like to go into that cup game with a few wins behind us. “That’s our season in some respects now, it certainly is from the fans’ point of view and we’ve let them down a lot, it’s our only way of making it up to them.
“To go on and have success in the Cup now. You had the travelling fans there again on Sunday and they are amazing, they follow us wherever we go and generally they have seen us win a few games this season but unfortunately we weren’t able to give them the result or performance we wanted to."

Everton stars of future mingle with first team at Finch Farm
5 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Heart-warming gallery as Everton players train with club's academy kids
Everton's future generation had the chance to train with the first team at Finch Farm.
The annual 'Academy Day' proved a fun occasion as ever, with players from the under-6 to under-11 age groups joining the Blues’ senior stars for a training session. Small-sided games, head tennis and shooting drills took place at the Halewood complex, and after the football had finished the players and coaching staff all congregated for a giant group photo. First-team coach Duncan Ferguson said he was delighted to be involved after taking part in similar sessions during his time as a player.
He said: “The kids just love it, don't they? Days like this show how together we are as a Club and it's a great thing to be able to put on these sessions. “I used to love being involved in them as a player and it's nice to be involved again now. It’s a great tradition that we've got at this club."
That sentiment was echoed by Academy Director Peter Vint, who said: "We've had a great time. The idea of the day is to provide a little bit of inspiration and a connection between our kids and their families and the first team and it's fantastic to see everyone working together and having fun.
“The parents are a really important part of the journey these young boys are about to embark on, so to have them included and have them here to see first hand what is happening is really important to our Academy."

Besic: Martinez was right to sub me at half-time against Arsenal
5 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Mo Besic insists Roberto Martinez was right to sub him at half-time against Arsenal - admitting it was one of the worst performances of his senior career. But the 23-year-old midfielder is ready to win back his place in Everton's starting line-up and insists the display was a one-off. Besic came in for the suspended Gareth Barry against the Gunners at Goodison last month but struggled to fill the void and was taken off at the break as the Blues chased a two goal deficit. The Bosnia and Herzegovina international says the performance haunted him for days afterwards but he is confident he can still regain his place in the side in time for the FA Cup semi-final on April 23. "I am confident because I know my qualities but I will not speak about that now," Besic said. "I am fit and when the gaffer needs me I am there." He added: "It was the worst game I have played in the last five years.
"Normally, I am always one of the best on the pitch and I can't remember when I wasn't.
Everton podcast: What's going on in the dressing room?
"I don't know if this game was in my head, it was just a bad game to be fair.
"Maybe it was the injuries, I have never had it before. I went into the game, I looked slow, every second ball I was not there. The gaffer changed me at half-time and it was the right decision.
"For five or six days I was really bad. I was at home for three days that relaxed me a bit."
Besic was part of the contingent of Everton players who went off on international duty straight after the defeat to Arsenal. And the fans' favourite says playing for his country and helped him restore some self-belief. "It is good that I played two games and play some minutes to get my confidence back," he said. "So the Arsenal game is just one game. It will not happen again."
Besic was an unused substitute in Sunday's game at Old Trafford against Manchester United where Everton fell to a limp 1-0 defeat. The combative midfielder says he could understand why the travelling supporters vented their anger at the final whistle, with Besic insisting the Blues players must "win them back". "Arsenal and United, I don't remember us playing two games as bad," he said. "United, to be fair, on the day were not good either and we had so much space but the Arsenal game was the same. "When we are ourselves we can beat them easy because we are strong team but we have not shown it in the last two games. "The supporters are always right and when they are not right they are right because they are our supporters and we have to win them back and win games. "They are always behind us and I am not worried about that."

Everton fan Tony Bellew hoping to fight in front of 30,000 fans as Goodison world title dream moves closer
6 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Creed star Bellew confident a deal can soon be finalised to face Ilunga Makabu at Goodison
Tony Bellew celebrates victory over Mateusz Masternak with Dave Coldwell during the vacant EBU cruiserweight title bout
Goodison Park could hold up to 30,000 fight fans as Tony Bellew's dream world title shot is close to being finalised. The boyhood Everton fan is due to meet Ilunga Makabu for the WBC cruiserwright title this summer and the Old Lady set to be the venue. Bellew has confirmed to the ECHO that negotiations between the club, council and Sky Sports are progressing rapidly and that a deal could be struck soon. Promoters Matchroom have been looking at securing a June 4 slot at Goodison and the seating plan and ring lay-out were discussed in detail at a meeting last week. Bellew, who thanked Everton chairman Bill Kenwright for his efforts in trying to make it happen, says a lot of money has been invested in securing his world title shot on home soil - but he believes it will be worth it if he lifts the WBC belt at the home of his beloved Blues.
"We are close," he told the ECHO.
"The club wants it to happen, the chairman wants it to happen, the gaffer, the boys, everyone at Everton Football Club want it to happen. "They are all striving for the same thing, there a few little obstacles to overcome but I am told the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, wants it to happen, the council want it to happen. There are a few issues that need ironing out, a few technicalities with the council and a few issues with Sky Sports. "So besides that, it's a go-er." "It's not done but it's very close," he added. "All the people who are needed to want it to happen are making it happen.
"The chairman has been fantastic with me, as always, he's looked after me even from making the film (Creed) - it was the chairman I went to when the movie first came to me, it was his advice I sought and without him I wouldn't have done the movie and wouldn't have progressed the way I have progressed. It wouldn't have opened the doors it has opened." Bellew predicts that if his Goodison dream is finalised then there will be high demand for tickets. But he insists this is not just an event for Evertonians to savour but the whole city. "There is absolutely no excuse for it not to happen now," he added. "Everyone wants it to happen it's just a case of it has to make financial sense for everybody, and it does. "That's what it comes down to. "I can go to the ECHO Arena and fill that, I've done that on various occasions with 10,000 in there but I want to stick 25-30,000 in Goodison and give them a fight. "We've had to budget big to get this fight here. Between myself and Eddie (Hear
n, promoter), we've put the money up to pay Makabu and we have got to make it work."
Bellew went onto say: "We are looking at between 25-30,000 fans. "We need it to hit 20,000, which I think it can do. I think we'll do 10,000 in the first few days but it's then how it builds from there."

What's causing Everton's current pressing problem?
6 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Greg O'Keeffe examines a pressing concern for Roberto Martinez
Aaron Lennon presses at Old Trafford - but did anyone else get the memo?
Without access to the Finch Farm tactics board, it's impossible to know just how big a part pressing played in Everton's game plan for Old Trafford. It's difficult to guess whether Roberto Martinez had instructed his players to close down a mediocre Manchester United team as one, or sit off them and focus on breaking their opponents down through possession. But whatever orders the Blues had been given on Sunday, they didn't work. And if pressing was in fact part of the plan - the concern is two-fold; either that the message wasn't clear enough, or - more worryingly - the players didn't execute it as required. Former Blue Kevin Kilbane started the pressing debate on Match of the Day Two by highlighting the build-up to the only goal of the game. United had the ball in their own half and Everton's more advanced players begin to press them. Well, one of them does. By now Everton's positive first half spell in the game has subsided and frustration is building but only Aaron Lennon
seems eager to do something proactive about it.
The winger (unless you were watching him for the first time on Sunday) embarks on a frantic spree of pressing as Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick play the ball between them. After realising nobody is backing him up, he briefly throws his hands in the air. Seconds later, with some calamitous defending to pave its way, the ball is in the back of Everton's net. In a game of so few chances it was always going to be decisive, and Martinez and his coaching staff will presumably have spent many hours this week wearing out the DVD of this period. "Everton didn't press well at all," said Kilbane. "I don't think they were great out of possession...You saw Lennon's frustration with no back-up behind him unlike United who had five or six pressing." Looking at the positions of Everton's players during that fateful moment, only Romelu Lukaku is close to Lennon. The striker briefly helps but nobody else is in proximity. Ross Barkley, who may have been instructed to sit deeper throughout
, is on the halfway line, as is the usually high-energy Tom Cleverley. But wait. Could it be that Cleverley and Barkley were sticking to the game plan and Lennon wasn't? Previously this term they've used a 'medium-block' method of pressing when not in possession. It means they allow the opposition to have ball unmolested in their own half, but press as soon as they pass the halfway line. If that was the case, the message wasn't clear to Lennon (or James McCarthy who was harrying about after United in their half during the proceeding phase). Maybe Martinez felt United's defence aren't good enough on the ball to cause his men too many problems coming from the back. Perhaps he wanted his team to win it back in their own half and then use Gerard Deulofeu and Lukaku's pace to hurt the Red Devils in the transition? Except United did capitalise by building from the back. Manchester United's Anthony Martial celebrates scoring their first goal Schneiderlin swung the ball to Juan Mat
a and the rest is painful recent history. By contrast United pressed the visitors hard, fast and consistently. The difference was clear. ECHO columnist Michael Ball sensed a pressing problem too.
'Part of Everton’s problem at the moment is that their back four are too deep,' he wrote on Monday.
'They don’t lack pace in defence and so by pushing up it gives the midfield the opportunity to get at the opposition and press hard. 'At the moment, the back four are 10-15 yards too deep. 'And it contributes to Everton being stretched which, in turn, makes it easier for the opposition to play against us. Action from Everton's defeat on Sunday 'If you look at Man United’s goal on Sunday, Lukaku and Lennon press high but nobody else does, the midfield and defence are too far apart and they play through us. 'We’re playing with too much safety, not being brave enough to step up and play offside and not trusting each other .' Everton seem best this term when they press high up the pitch. It's the type of dynamic, all-action spirit off the ball which Scouse football fans like to see.
On the ball, Martinez won't deviate from how he wants to break teams down. That's his prerogative.
But off it - when he has seen the success of high-pressing work so well, the FA Cup quarter final win over Chelsea or the home leg against Manchester City in the League Cup semi-final, a case in point, failure to maintain it is baffling.

Everton youngster Ryan Ledson flourishing during Cambridge loan spell
6 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Jones
Everton youngster Ryan Ledson believes he is improving quickly during his loan spell at Cambridge.
The 18-year-old has been with the League Two club since November, and will now remain at the Abbey Stadium until the end of the season. Ledson already has an Everton first-team appearance under his belt – against FC Krasnodar in the Europa League - and has added to his experience this term with 22 outings for Cambridge. And the teenager says he is happy with his progression.
“I’m only young, I’ve got no fear,” Ledson told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. “I just want to play as much football as I can. “Twenty-odd games in League Two is brilliant for me at such a young age. I feel like I’m improving week by week.” Liverpool-born Ledson is one of a number of young Evertonians enjoying productive loan spells this season. David Henen, Calum Connolly, Jonjoe Kenny, Liam Walsh, Luke Garbutt and Conor McAleny have all gained valuable experience too, while striker Leandro Rodriguez is at Brentford. Luke Garbutt is another young Blue enjoying a loan spell
England U19 international Ledson, though, believes he has the perfect mentor in Cambridge manager Shaun Derry. “He is a great manager and he’s going to have a great career in management,” he said. “He’s very approachable, which some managers aren’t these days.
“I know he was a tough-tackling midfielder and hopefully that’s what I’m like. If I can have half the career he’s had I’ll be doing well. “We’re five points off the play-offs and no one’s talking about us yet, which is nice. I think it is on the cards still. We could go on a late run in these last six games.”

If Roberto Martinez doesn't win the FA Cup Everton must make summer change
6 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
View from the Gwladys St: Adam Jones on the under-fire Blues boss
Firstly, what was your take on Sunday’s game - and more importantly Everton’s performance?
It’s hard to come up with new ways to describe how Everton are performing right now. It’s lacklustre, it’s slow, it’s almost stomach-churningly frustrating a lot of the time. Sunday was no different - despite starting the game getting in the faces of Manchester United and arguably looking the better team, we weren’t able to build on it and create any clear-cut chances for ourselves.
Then, in the second half, a ridiculous lack of concentration in defence cost us - again.
It’s becoming all too common now to see a slow, boring brand of football on show from Everton, offering almost nothing going forward. No offence to Gareth Barry, but it’s frankly worrying that Everton seem to miss him so much when he’s not in the side. Even by Louis van Gaal’s own admission, Manchester United didn’t play well, but they created the chance and finished it when it mattered. The only shining light on Sunday was John Stones, who performed admirably on a big stage when the pressure was really on him after a mistake for England a few days previously.
What did you make of Leighton Baines’ comments about the team missing “chemistry” after the United game? Long story short, he’s spot on - and a senior player coming out with comments like that should not be taken lightly. How many times at the weekend did it look like our players weren’t on the same wavelength as each other? At least earlier in the season we looked like a free-flowing attacking force, but over the last two games especially it’s looked like we can’t even buy a goal.
And that’s not all just down to the likes of Lukaku and Barkley, our chemistry has broken down all over the pitch; our ability to build attacks from the back has been severely diminished.
How much of that is teams learning to cope with our style of play? Who knows. But in that case, where’s the plan B?
Tell us where you stand on the manager at the moment then?
Roberto Martinez is in a lot of trouble. The pressure must now be well and truly on since Farhad Moshiri has joined the club - the new investor has overseen four games so far since he joined Everton, one win and three losses. And, if the pressure from high in the club isn’t enough, there is now a growing pressure amongst the fanbase calling for the Spaniard’s head, summed up by the boos of the travelling fans on Sunday. Everton manager Roberto Martinez grimaces on the touchline at Old Trafford His only saving grace right now is the FA Cup - another league campaign has disappointingly fallen by the wayside all too early with strings of inconsistent and poor performances. If Roberto Martinez doesn’t win the FA Cup, so overseeing two consecutive seasons of mediocrity and poor performances, can he have any arguments at getting sacked?
In that case, it’s time for the club to look for a new direction and a new manager in the summer.
What have you made of the growing criticism aimed at Martinez? What can he do to help matters?
I’m not sure there’s anything you can do to blame the fans and pundits who are blaming Martinez, the kind of performances Everton are putting in it the minute are not good enough, especially with the quality in our squad. In terms of fans, there are a growing section that are adamant the Spaniard should be out the door, and there may be no way of winning those back, even with an FA Cup.
Martinez shouts instructions from the sidelines during his side's win over Chelsea in the quarter-final of the FA Cup at Goodison However, there are fans and pundits who are still on the fence, and the rest of the season could be absolutely crucial for his Everton career in that sense. If Martinez oversees and improvement in league form, a long-awaited win at Anfield and an even longer-awaited trophy triumph, then he could at least buy himself some time to try and turn things around.
Watford on Saturday, then Crystal Palace on the Wednesday. Two sides that have not been in great form themselves. What do you want to see from Everton (other than a couple of wins!)?
I don’t want to just see wins, I want to see convincing wins!
Today marks two years since Everton absolutely dominated Arsenal at Goodison Park - how far away do we look from that brand of football now? Watford and Palace haven’t been performing as well as they have in other periods of this season, and we need to capitalise on that and really attack these two games. Lukaku celebrates scoring with Roberto Martinez during the Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on April 6, 2014 We know that this squad of players can put together great performances, especially away from home (3-0 victories away to Stoke and Southampton this campaign prove that). Let’s see a return of an exciting, goalscoring Everton...or at the very least a winning one.
And finally, any other business you’d like to mention?
With the amount of games that the club have coming up in the next few weeks, it’s inevitable that Oumar Niasse will be called upon more and more. Roberto Martinez admitted this week that the striker wasn’t ready and was taking longer to get fit-for-action than expected. I’ve seen a few fans already judging the striker, claiming that he won’t be good enough for the club in the event that Lukaku is rested for a game.
Don't rush to judge Niasse, says Adam
From the amount of game-time he’s had, it’s far too early to make any sort of wide-ranging judgement, and I think a few who have are jumping the gun. That being said, what we’ve seen of our £13.5 million man so far hasn’t exactly been encouraging, and it’s only Niasse who can prove his doubters wrong.

Everton under Martinez are currently as frustrating as Walter Smith era
7 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Liverpool Echo
Fan Jury: Our Everton supporters give their verdict on the latest set-back and more
Everton are as frustrating now as they were in the dark days of Walter Smith, according to our fan jury
CONNOR O'NEILL (City Centre)
Same old, same old.
Roberto Martinez’s time is up at Everton. Regardless of whether we win the FA Cup or not the Spaniard should be sacked at the end of the season. A cup win would simply be papering over the cracks. Sunday’s performance was simply not good enough, and not for the first time this season the managers substitutions left me baffled. Manchester United were incredibly poor – but for us to be even poorer is simply shocking To make things worse Leighton Baines’ comments seem to confirm what every fan is thinking: Martinez has lost the dressing room. For a team with so much ability to have no chemistry is shocking and the blame lies with Roberto. He clearly can’t motivate the players and in return they clearly have no respect for him. Roberto’s time is up, and its best for him and the club to part ways at the end of the season. Another International break up, another story from Romelu Lukaku’s agent claiming the player wants out. Whether he is after more money or whether his l
ove and desire to play in the Champions League is real, can anyone really blame the Belgium for wanting out. Since he signed from Chelsea, Lukaku has blossomed and matured into one of the finest centre forwards in world football. And while he has continued to achieve personally the same can’t be said about the team, who are heading backwards at an alarming pace!
While Lukaku maybe blasted for having the ambition of wanting to play at the highest level he possibly can. I for one won’t be having a go, as at least it’s good to see someone at the club with a bit of ambition. It’s just a pity our board doesn’t have the same ambition – as we certainly wouldn’t be watching a team with so much ability decline with each passing week.
PAUL McALLISTER (Fazakerley)
Yet another embarrassing display from a side that has let both themselves and supporters down massively this season. How a squad with such talent can perform so badly for two years, even with an inept manager at the helm, really beggars belief and everyone at the club should hang their heads in embarrassment. Leighton Baines has always seemed a straight-talker and his comments earlier this week only seemed to confirm what most supporters have long suspected, that something isn’t right behind the scenes amongst the players. Our most experienced heads are making amateurish mistakes and look to have lost the spirit and steel they developed during the Moyes’ era. Anyone who’s already dreaming of Wembley or of their summer holidays needs to be dropped from the first-team immediately. Everton new investor Farhad Moshiri may have some big decisions this summer This summer is going to be seismic and the future direction of the club will be decided by some very important decisions.
Roberto Martinez should undoubtedly be shown to door and a new manager be brought in. If we appointed someone with a proven track record of success it would hopefully convince our best players that we are going somewhere and to stick around for at least one more season.
Should Everton make an approach for Sevilla coach Unai Emery this summer?
Somebody like Unai Emery or even Manuel Pellegrini have to be worth approaching at least. An uninspiring appointment would only further convince them that their futures will be brighter elsewhere and further deflate fans.
A third straight defeat and the sooner this league season ends the better.
Going to the game home or away has become boring, pointless and devoid of passion. No fans anywhere in the world can create a good atmosphere when the players on the pitch don’t have any desire or fight in them. We’re second bottom - ahead of only the hapless Villa - in tackles and interceptions in the league. We’ve stopped doing the simple things. Does the manager really believe we can win games without getting in teams faces and showing a desire and a passion to win the ball back? Nobody at Everton is close to Kante's 130 interceptions this term
Kante has made 130 interceptions this season and the player who has made the most for Everton is Funes Mori with 61. We don’t get close enough to teams and we don’t impose ourselves enough.
Martinez can talk about the psychological block and the effect of the crowd at home but how can he ignore the fact we make it easy for teams to come to Goodison?
Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka after the defeat by Arsenal
After the collapse at Chelsea Martinez said we would never stop taking the game to the opposition and looking back on those comments makes for laughable reading. If you’re two goals up at Stamford Bridge where is the harm in seeing out the game? We’ve dropped an embarrassing amount of points and looking back over our results at home this season is almost as shameful as the performances that accompanied them. People talk about Everton being able to beat ‘anybody on our day’. Apart from Southampton and Stoke away from home, what genuinely good team have we beaten this season? We have a squad jam-packed with talent and players that are constantly linked with a move away from Goodison. But as Leighton Baines pointed out this week, how many times have they truly came together as a team and won a tightly-fought contest or seen out a cagey 1-0? Leicester have won seven games by a single goal to nil in comparison to our solitary victory by the same score-line. When did it become a
crime to win ugly? There are undoubtedly two Everton’s. One Everton is the side we see most weeks now; passionless, boring and unable to hold their nerve. The lesser-spotted Everton, usually seen fleetingly during cup occasions, are capable of superb, flowing football and can break down any defence. The worry at Wembley is both West Ham and Manchester United will be as desperate as us to lift the trophy, and if the players come out with the same amount of desire they’ve displayed in the league this season, it will be a painful game to watch and an even more painful trip back home. It’s okay to win ugly. It’s okay to shut up shop. It’s okay to tackle hard and to want the ball back as much as we want the ball at our feet. We have several games before the semi final and we have to go back to basics and find some kind of chemistry otherwise there won’t be any point turning up for the occasion.
Finally one of the players speaks out and suggests everything isn't as rosy as Martinez says in every rambling waste of time press conference. No doubt Leighton Baines - who also hasn't covered himself in glory this season - will now be dropped for daring to say everything isn't phenomenal.
How can Martinez say we controlled Sunday's game when we only had one shot on target?
It was two poor sides boring the crowd to death. Like the Arsenal game before it - where was the late cavalry charge? Why was Niasse only given five minutes? Why was Jagielka not thrown up top near the end?
Why did Niasse get such a brief run out?
Martinez wants to win his way or not at all - there is simply no flexibility in his approach. The players also cannot hide behind the ineptitude of the manager. Some of them are a pale shadow of there former selves. Baines hasn't done a tap all season and Coleman again made a ridiculous mistake on Sunday. I don't think McCarthy has played a forward pass all season, playing it safe all the time simply doesn't cut it. This season has been as frustrating as a Walter Smith campaign and we are all now pinning our hopes on a unlikely cup win when clearly West Ham and Man Utd are better than us. We just need to get another three points to get us safe and pray that it's our year in the FA cup.

Everton transfer rumours: Former Manchester United winger linked with move
7 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Joel Rabinowitz
A round-up of transfer rumours and speculation from around the web
Ex-Manchester United winger, Nani, has been linked with a potential move back to the Premier League.
Remember him? Well, Everton are believed to be among a number of clubs interested in the Portuguese international. Fanatik claim that Nani has a point to prove in the Premier League after being shipped out by Louis Van Gaal to Sporting Lisbon, before sealing a move to Turkey.
With 10 goals and 8 assists in 39 appearances, Nani has enjoyed a successful campaign at Fenerbahce, who sit in 2nd plac e behind Besiktas in the Turkish Super League.
It is believed that the 29-year-old has a £6.4 million release clause and could represent a cut-price option for the Toffees in the summer. Everton could face competition for his signature, however, as a raft of clubs from La Liga and Serie A are also rumoured to hold interest in Nani.
Elsewhere, Italian media outlet TuttoSport report that Everton face a battle for the signature of Torino centre back, Pontus Jansson. Despite having started just 3 Serie A games this season, TuttoSport believe the 25-year-old Swedish international has the potential to become Kamil Glik's long term successor at the club. Torino do not intend to sell Jansson anytime soon, however, and are expected to offer the defender a new deal, extending his current contract from 2018 to 2020.
The Italian outfit could be tempted to do business, however, with the prospect of a significant profit having signed Jansson from Malmo on a free transfer in 2014. Stuttgart, Borussia Monchengladbach and West Brom are among several other clubs with reported interest in the player.

Everton get Anthony Taylor as FA Cup semi-final referee
7 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Everton to face either West Ham United or Manchester United on April 23 at Wembley
Referee Anthony Taylor walks toward Kevin Mirallas of Everton after fouling Aaron Cresswell
Anthony Taylor has been appointed as referee for Everton’s FA Cup semi-final.
The Blues will face either West Ham United or Manchester United on Saturday, April 23 at Wembley.
West Ham and Man U replay their quarter-final tie next Wednesday. Taylor has officiated Everton on three occasions this season, including against West Ham last month where he sent off Kevin Mirallas. Blues boss Roberto Martinez blasted the referee after the 3-2 defeat, saying: “I don’t feel he is a referee who understands the game in a way that we want the game played. Tim Howard displays his disappointment after referee Anthony Taylor awards Swansea a penalty at Goodison
“You want a referee who takes the backseat.” Stuart Burt and John Brooks will be Taylor’s assistant referees and Jon Moss is to be the fourth official. Taylor has also taken charge of Everton’s home defeats to Man City and Swansea City this season.

Roberto Martínez says Leighton Baines’ ‘chemistry’ comments were misinterpreted
• Everton manager says full-back has apologised
• ‘Clearly this has been taken out of context in the way that it’s come out’
Roberto Martínez: Leighton Baines’s Everton comments were misinterpreted
Thursday 7 April 2016 Guardian
The Everton manager, Roberto Martínez, revealed Leighton Baines has apologised for his widely reported comments questioning the team’s chemistry. The full-back told the Liverpool Echo after the Toffees’ 1-0 defeat by Manchester United last weekend: “I just don’t feel as though the chemistry is quite there with the team on the pitch at the moment, and it hasn’t been for a while.”
Leighton Baines blames Everton’s run of defeats on lack of teamwork
The United loss was Everton’s third in a row in the league and Baines’ remarks fanned the flames of frustration that have threatened to engulf Goodison Park. Martínez insisted Baines had not meant the comments to be interpreted in the way they were.“What he intended to say is that when you’re not getting the results you lose confidence so a ball that could go in hits the crossbar and it goes out,” said the Everton manager. “At the other end, a half chance ends up in the back of the net.
“That’s what he meant and it was more of a feeling of disappointment and frustration and obviously he used the wrong words. “It’s very disappointing when you see a bit of a misinterpretation of certain words that a player says. Clearly this has been taken out of context in the way that it’s come out. “But someone with the experience of Leighton Baines – and he knows, I’ve had a chat with him – he has to take responsibility for those words. They’ve been given the opportunity to attract a meaning that is not right and for that he apologised. “We expect a senior figure at Everton to take responsibility, to make sure that we speak on the pitch, and the way to do that is against Watford.”
Martínez insisted there is no problem with the atmosphere within his squad. “We’ve got a very close group and we know each other. We’ve been through many situations over the years,” the Spaniard said. “We are developing a really strong mentality and I don’t think that’s going to be tested by comments on the outside. We’re always very open and very clear and the understanding is something that doesn’t need clarification.” Baines also said Everton were leaning too heavily on certain individuals – a reference surely to Romelu Lukaku and his 25 goals this season. But Martínez disagreed, saying: “I wouldn’t say we are a team that relies on one or two individuals. I think we rely on the technical ability of the whole team, the way that we can get high up the pitch, create chances. “Of course we rely on individuals because the team is made up of individuals and we’ve got 15, 16 individuals that have had impressive campaigns, probably the best in their you
ng careers in some cases.” Everton will look to end their losing Premier League run when they take on fellow FA Cup semi-finalists Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday. Martínez feels reaching the last four in the Cup has affected their league form but insisted that remains the priority. He said: “We need to be obsessed with the games that we’ve got left in the league. We’re not a team that we’re going to give in in one competition as important for us as the league is. “We know we’ve got one game in hand - we’ve got a lot of points to fight for. “The last three defeats were very different, but clearly the hype that we had in achieving the semi-final of the FA Cup in a way has affected the results in the league. It’s for us now to take responsibility in the league and make sure we get as many points as we can.”

Everton's Leighton Baines wasn't misinterpreted and shouldn't apologise as Martinez plays the blame game
7 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
David Prentice on why Roberto Martinez is wrong to point the finger at Leighton Baines and the Echo
Roberto Martinez speaks to Leighton Baines.
Roberto Martinez has blamed referees this season, he has blamed bad luck and he has blamed his players – now it appears to be our turn. Leighton Baines delivered a typically honest assessment of Everton's insipid defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday . “I just don't feel as though the chemistry is quite there with the team on the pitch at the moment, and it hasn't been for a while,” he said. The Echo's headline was hardly misleading: “Chemistry not there – and hasn't been for a while.” Baines added: “We are maybe leaning too heavily on individuals to come up with something. “We're in games, we were in the game on Sunday and had a couple of chances, but we're not performing as a team to the level we know we can or we should be. Results have an impact on that because chemistry and confidence go hand in hand. “Look at the teams who are having success this year and you'd say they have chemistry. “If I had to say one thing, I just don't know if it's there with us at
the moment, for whatever reasons.” The comments weren't analysed. They weren't “interpreted” by us. They were delivered as an accurate representation of an honest footballer's thoughts following another disappointing defeat. Yet Roberto Martinez declared today that Leighton Baines has been “misinterpreted” – and has “apologised”.
How Everton fans reacted after last home defeat to Arsenal
These are Martinez's words – produced verbatim to avoid confusion
“I think there are two aspects of that. First it's very disappointing when you see a misinterpretation of certain words that a player says and really this has been taken out of context in the way that it's come out. “And the other aspect is that someone of the experience of Leighton Baines knows he has to take responsibility for those words – I have had a chat with him – those words have given the opportunity to be maybe attracting a meaning that is not right, not correct and obviously for that he has apologised and taken responsibility for that for leaving those words open. “But that's what we expect from a senior figure at Everton, we expect him to take responsibility, to make sure that we speak on the pitch and the way to do that is against Watford. “I wouldn't say we rely on one or two individuals, I think the way we are as a team we rely on the technical ability of the whole team, the way that we can get high up the pitch and create chances.
"The place to talk is on the pitch" - Martinez
"I don't think we are a team that relies on one or two individuals. Of course we rely on individuals because the team is made of individuals and we have 15 or 16 individuals who have had impressive campaigns, probably the best campaigns of their young careers in some cases “But those quotes have been taken out of context and that's disappointing on one side but on the other side obviously Leighton takes responsibility for putting himself in a position which has given the wrong words and allowed the wrong interpretation and for that, as I said, he has apologised and is ready to move forward. And as any senior player the place to talk is on the pitch.”
So what was the “misinterpretation?”
Clearly a lack of “chemistry” amongst a group of players reflects badly on a manager.
"Is there chemistry? If so it's not being reflected on the pitch" - Prentice
Did Baines choose the wrong word? If so, he did so three times.
Did we “misinterpret” Baines? Have our readers “misinterpreted” Baines' meaning?
Or is Roberto Martinez seeking another avenue to apportion blame? Is there chemistry on the pitch? If so it is not being reflected in Premier League results.
So many questions, but we can safely assume that Leighton Baines will probably not be made available for interview to answer them on Saturday at Vicarage Road, although Martinez did speak to Phil Kirkbride as usual this morning despite earlier insinuations about the ECHO's reporting.
Martinez added: “We have a very close group. We know each other. We have been through many many situations over the years now. We are developing a really strong mentality and I don't think that's going to be tested by comments in the outside. “We are always quite open and always very clear but it's important for our fans more than anything to understand that certain words can be taken out of context. Leighton Baines and Aaron Lennon come out for the warm up before the Premier League match between Manchester United "In the same way that Leighton has apologized for leaving that open and the fans know that an outstanding group of top ambassadors for our football club are not performing well or getting the results for this football club and that's something we want to change quickly.” So what was the actual “context” Baines' words were taken out of?
Everton correspondent Phil spoke to Baines in a tunnel at Old Trafford.
He asked: “Is it difficult not just to look at the semi-final as the season now and is it difficult to, I don't want to say is it difficult to motivate yourselves for league games, but the season is effectively the semi now isn't it? Baines replied: “It is yeah, but the motivation should be in trying to get your name there for it, shouldn't it? It's like (pause of several seconds), I just think, you know, I don't know, I just don't feel like the chemistry is quite there on the pitch within the team at the moment and it hasn't been for a while. We are sort of leaning maybe a bit too heavily on individuals to come up with something. “We're in games. We were in the game all the time today and had a couple of chances but we're not performing as a team to the level we know we can or we should be.”
Phil then added: “Talking about chemistry do you sense that around in the week or is it just when you get on the pitch recently it's just not clicking?”
Leighton Baines: always honest and candid
Baines added: “I think it's the start and obviously results have an impact on that because chemistry and confidence can go hand in hand in a way. You start winning games. I mean look at the teams who are having success this year. You would say they've got chemistry, you know?
“If I had to say one thing it would be, I don't know if it's there at the moment for whatever reason.”
All commendably honest and candid. All accurately reported.
Yet Baines, we are told, has apologised.
That's disappointing. Baines has been “misinterpreted” before. A typically honest interview he gave cost him his place at a World Cup in South Africa. But we don't believe he has been on this occasion.
Has Romelu Lukaku been made to apologise?
Perhaps there should have been other apologies forthcoming.
From Romelu Lukaku for undermining his team-mates by saying “it would be nice to play in the Champions League from next season.” Clearly that won't be with Everton. From Roberto Martinez for the worst run of home results in living memory.

Shani Tarashaj joins Everton for fitness tests ahead of summer move
7 Apr 2016 Liverpool EchoBy Phil Kirkbride
Everton signed 21-year-old in January for £3m but loaned him back to Grasshopper Zurich
Shani Tarashaj is closed down by James McCarthy as Switzerland took on the Repulic of Ireland
Shani Tarashaj was at Everton this week to undergo fitness tests ahead of his summer move.
The Blues signed the 21-year-old forward on a four-and-a-half-year deal worth £3m in January but loaned him straight back to Grasshopper Zurich for the rest of the season. But Tarashaj was at Finch Farm on Monday and Tuesday for a series of tests and check-ups for Everton to ensure he will be able to hit the ground running in pre-season. “He came across for the two days review that we have in our relationship with Grasshoppers,” Roberto Martinez said. “We’re changing a few aspects in order to reach the intensity of the Premier League. It was great to see him, he’s finished the service in the army so he’s got a good opportunity to start working within the parameters that he is going to need. “The relationship with Grasshoppers is perfect. He was here Monday and Tuesday so he is going to play for Grasshopper at the weekend.” Martinez said Tarashaj did not train with the rest of the Everton squad. “It was only a one-to-one, a lot of testing, a lot of looking int
o the nutrition, looking at the recovery tools and getting to know his body quickly and try different ways of recovering that is going to help him work within the needs of the physical standards of the Premier League,” the Blues manager added.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez adamant he knows his best starting line-up despite poor results
7 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Everton manager able to welcome back Gareth Barry for trip to Watford
Gareth Barry in action against Watford, who gave Everton a headache at Goodison Park
Roberto Martinez insists he knows his best starting line-up despite Everton losing their last three league games. The Blues manager welcomes back Gareth Barry from suspension for Saturday’s trip to Watford (3pm) while Steven Pienaar is back in contention after a knock. Bryan Oviedo also has clean bill of health after a recent illness and though Leon Osman remains a doubt, Martinez has a near-fully fit squad from which to choose. The Everton boss has used 16 different players in Premier League matches with West Ham United, Arsenal and Manchester United and named three different starting XIs. Bans for Barry and Mirallas forced Martinez’s hand and he says he knows what his best line-up is. But Martinez says it is not an exact science and moments of form have to be considered when naming his team for a game. Asked if he knew his best starting XI, the Blues boss said: “Of course.
Steven Pienaar is back in contention
“As a manager you always know your best team but in the same way it is making sure you know the moments of form of players. “One thing is having a team which suits each other and develops good partnerships and has good balance but, in the same way, you need players in good moments of form who can execute what the team needs well and we are a team that doesn’t rely on 11 players, we have got more than that and it has been seen over the last months. "We have got a few options in different positions and the team is flexible enough to play in different formations so we are not a rigid team in that respect that we rely on 11 players and only have a different line-up depending on injuries and suspensions. We are not that type of team and don’t want to be that type of team.”
Everton captain Phil Jagielka, this week, warned the team’s under-performing players that places for the FA Cup semi-final are at risk unless displays improve.

Kevin Ratcliffe: Leighton Baines was right but if he still had to apologise why didn't Lukaku?
7 Apr 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Kevin Ratcliffe
Everton legend on Baines, Lukaku and Gareth Barry's absence
I don't think Leighton Baines should have had to apologise for his comments about Everton lacking chemistry at the moment. It seems to me that Leighton has had to say sorry for simply telling the truth. I wonder whether Romelu Lukaku has apologised for what he said on international duty when he spoke about wanting to play in the Champions League next season? On the surface of it you’d imagine Baines meant that it’s chemistry on the pitch which is missing, but when top players like Lukaku speak out about moving away it doesn’t help the overall mood at the club. I’m not blaming Lukaku either though. He is an ambitious player and wants to test himself. But if Baines had to apologise then it’s double standards if the striker wasn’t also made to explain himself. He certainly wasn’t made an example of in public. You can’t help but agree with Baines anyway.
The chemistry is obviously not right in some sort of way.
Just look at the league table and that tells you everything you need to know.
Something is not right.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah of Manchester United tackles Leighton Baines during the match between Manchester United and Everton We keep getting told how good these players are but if they’re that outstanding then there must be something going wrong for them to be locked in the bottom half of the Premier League table. Saying how great the players are all the time has put the team under pressure. There is massive pressure on Roberto Martinez now to get to the FA Cup final. He’s made the point about reaching two semi finals being an achievement but you’ve got to get to the final in at least one of them. The remaining league games are just about retaining some credibility.
Gareth Barry's absence made Blue hearts fonder
Gareth Barry has certainly been a costly absence for Everton.
I think we’ve only realised the extent to which he makes this team tick while he’s been missing for a couple of games. It’s surprising how many games he’s actually played this season given his age, but he’s a professional who clearly looks after himself well. Some who don’t know better say it’s easier to play in the defensive midfield role he occupies but it’s not.
He just makes it look easy.
Gareth Barry
He does the simple things simply and effortlessly well.
You only have to look at the lack of cohesion we’ve had against Arsenal and Manchester United to realise what he brings. He always makes the right decisions and that’s invaluable. After all - 15 years playing in the Premier League isn’t bad is it?
Above all else Toffees must match Watford's intensity on Saturday
The main thing I want to see from Everton’s performance on Saturday - other than three points - is intensity. We’ve got to be as up for it as they are. When we play with tempo and aggression, like against Chelsea in the quarter final, we’re a force to be reckoned with but we simply haven’t done it enough. Watford are a team that will work hard - that’s for sure. It's not often Troy Deeney pauses for breath Their front two in Ighalo and Deeney just don’t stop or give the defence a moment’s rest.
Look how much Leicester have profited from a high energy approach.
We have got to show that sort of energy and match them - and if we do then the extra quality our players have should make all the difference. But first we need to earn it.




























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