clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Everton vs Arsenal: Roberto Martinez Pre-Match Quotes

"Wembley is a reward for our fans and we're looking forward to seeing how good we can be in that environment" - says gaffer

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Thursday morning Everton manager Roberto Martinez sat down with the assembled media at Finch Firm to preview Arsenal's trip to Goodison Park and it was the first chance to hear from the Spaniard since the Toffees booked their place at Wembley.

"Wembley is a reward for our fans and we're looking forward to seeing how good we can be in that environment."

But the manager was keen not to put all his eggs in one basket, "No matter what the competition, we need to perform in the best possible way."

Focusing on Saturday's clash, Martinez was very complimentary of his opposite number:

"I know what Arsene Wenger has done as a manger, bringing a very clear way of working, a completely different new approach to football. The management he brought into the British game has changed British football. What he has achieved at Arsenal is a model that many, many footballing people have been inspired by.

"The short term situation of one or two results sometimes overshadows the incredible work over the years. The way you are as a manager, defensive, attacking, I think the style Arsene Wenger represents is something that shouldn’t be just put aside. For me, it is a reflection of the modern times that we are so easily led to criticise a manager that has done incredible things in the game."

"They are a team, who in my eyes, are still in with a real good opportunity to win the league," said the Blues boss. "I know a lot has been said about Leicester, and rightly so, because of the distance they have. The five-point lead they have at this moment is a huge gap, but with the three-point system, the gap is smaller than you think. I feel Arsenal are still strong title contenders and that's what we're going to be facing at Goodison."

In terms of team news, Everton will be without Gareth Barry who is suspended after his red card against Chelsea. Barry has covered the second most distance in the Premier League so far this season and regarding his absence his manager looked to remain positive:

"I think it's an interesting stat. I don't think many people would come up with that through watching Gareth, but it's not just the amount of running he does, it's how clever he is with tactical positioning, covering other players and being able to read the game so well. At the age of 35, to be able to have the physicality he does is impressive.

"Of course, we are going to miss him now he is suspended. He's one of two players who have been ever-present in the Premier League this season. But we're going to use this period of his suspension, with an international break in the middle, to give him a proper break to make sure he is as strong as he can be for the final part of the campaign. I think we will get the rewards from that."

Muhamed Besic will deputise for Barry and Martinez said:

"We all know Mo had a good period when he was fully fit, he was at a good level. He's shown no signs of reaction and is ready. It is a good opportunity for him to step up into the team."

Roberto did not rule Bryan Oviedo out of Saturday's fixture however he isn't expected to start,

"Bryan has lost a considerable amount of weight but has been given the all clear. He has been training and I hope for him to rejoin the full group on Friday when we'll have a better idea [if he can play on Saturday]."

Leighton Baines is reportedly still suffering from his ankle injury and has been seeing a specialist: 

"I think we've found the right solution for Leighton and it's great to see him free and performing the way he was on Saturday.

Finally, the Everton manager revealed how impressed he has been with Aaron Lennon's form:

"It's been great to see Aaron Lennon's form. He's been really impressive and influential in the final third."