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Everton at Chelsea: Roberto Martinez Pre-Match Quotes

The boss talks Sam Byram, Steven Naismith, Tom Cleverley and a quartet of Ireland internationals.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The setting was Finch Farm on a crisp Friday morning as Roberto Martinez sat down with the journalists that had assembled to gather quotes to fill their preview articles on Everton's trip down south to champions Chelsea.

Thursday evening, the story broke that Everton had had their bid for Leeds United's Sam Byram accepted and the Toffees are now in advanced talks with the right-back. So of course the first question this morning was about the 22-year-old.

"There has been an approach. Nothing else to comment at the moment. You have to be very careful. I don’t enjoy the window clashing with important games.

Nothing else to comment. An initial approach, but a long gap until official confirmation.

If there’s a signing to be made, it needs to be the right character, the right addition. In any process there are steps, and some become very long, others are quite short."

In terms of Saturday's clash Roberto had some words on the opposition, "Chelsea are a team full of winning footballers, they can produce something magic out of nothing."

He continued, "It's the same group of players [as before Jose Mourinho's sacking] so it's difficult to identify changes from the outside.

They had a couple of impressive performances, and showed fighting spirit and determination.

They go back to having incredible individuals that can change games in one action. Guus has great experience, knows the club inside out, and has an understanding of what’s needed in this league."

But as far as his own side goes, the Everton chief announced his pleasure with the Blues' attacking play and consistency.

"We want to carry momentum. Our season has been very consistent in that respect. We enjoy playing away from home, we've been a good attacking team scoring goals with ease at Goodison.

Defensively we have conceded too many goals, which have cost our results. But our performances have been very consistent.

Playing well gets recognised, and gives you belief and confidence. It’s important that we maintain the levels.

Every game is vitally important for different reasons. The League Cup game is important and we are enjoying the cups, but the league has extra significance. The amount of draws has stopped us being in a better position, and reflects the small margins we have to correct."

When asked about team news for tomorrow's clash, the Spaniard said that he has the same squad available to him as he had for the Manchester City game on Wednesday.

"Tom Cleverley is recovering well but I'd say he's 50/50 to be involved in the Chelsea game," he added. "James McCarthy has started to do some good work and is not far away but won't be involved and the same goes for Seamus Coleman. We'll have the exact same squad as we had against Man City and it's going to be a tough mental and physical challenge with two tough away games in one week."

With Seamus Coleman still injured and Sam Byram's transfer not finalised, John Stones is set to continue at right-back.

"You need versatile footballers. Flexibility helps.

John is a centre half, and when he has to fill in at RB its for the good of the team.

I see John Stones as a centre half."

Throughout the height of the criticism of Tim Howard's goalkeeping, Martinez has been the American's biggest supporter - along with Howard himself, and the manager seemed pretty pleased with his number one's impressive display on Wednesday night.

"You will always be judged on errors as a goalkeeper.

What we saw on Wed is that Howard is more than a goalkeeper, he’s a key member on the squad. The young players performing well is down to his advice and calm nature.

That’s important, that influence from Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Barry - it allows young players to be brave.
He was focused in what he had to do for the team, and it showed how important he is to us. He’s an incredible character that we are very lucky to have in the dressing room."

If transfers are coming into Goodison Park, that usually means at least one will be heading out but on Aiden McGeady and Darron Gibson - Martinez revealed there has been no new developments.

"Nothing new. They are two players that have been very good trainers, and have added to the team.

But they should be playing more minutes, we understand that, and they have the Euros. We have to look into the situation.

At the moment, nothing to comment."

But as far as Steven Naismith is concerned, who notched up a hat-trick in the return fixture, a transfer is at a more advanced stage;

"Everything is agreed in terms of a transfer. He has an ankle knock, and the priority is to see him fit and available, then have a sit down.

It’s in his hands, to a point, but it has to be in everyone’s interest.

In the summer, we couldn’t replace him, it wasn’t the right move. Now, it’s in his hands."

He concluded, "We spoke to another PL club, and that deal has been there since Jan 1. But it’s about sitting down with the player.

The opportunity is there because of what happened in the previous window. It was one that Steven would have liked to consider, but we couldn’t replace him. The squad would have suffered, but we promised that in the next window we would review it.

Steven hasn’t played as much as he would have liked for a senior figure, and it’s only fair and honest that we sit down and review it."