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Everton vs Southampton: Roberto Martinez Pre-Match Quotes

"Young players will get opportunities" says Martinez

Christopher Lee/Getty Images

On Thursday morning Roberto Martinez sat down with the assembled journalists for his pre-match presser to preview Southampton's visit to Goodison Park.

The focus this week was very much on team news as it was revealed after the Crystal Palace draw on Wednesday that several players were suffering from injuries in the build-up to Saturday's clash.

"Leighton Baines, Ross Barkley and Aaron Lennon will be assessed after picking up knocks on Wednesday."

The boss continued:

"Romelu has been carrying a bit of a problem and we'll assess him today to see if he can make the squad. It was against Palace - he stretched for the ball and felt his groin slightly. He didn't train yesterday, but we're hoping he can today[Friday]."

With the Blues without James McCarthy, because of his red card in the game at Selhurst Park, and Tom Cleverley with an injury from the same game, Martinez suggested he may look at the club's youth development squad to cover.

"Five games in two weeks means the squad is going to be tested at some point and that's going to be tomorrow against Southampton," said the gaffer.

"We're probably going to be in a position where young players will get opportunities, players who haven't been involved will have an opportunity, because we've collected all or a sudden four or five knocks and the suspension of James McCarthy."

Two of those doubtful for Saturday's fixture received PFA Young Player of the Year nominations, to which their manager reacted;

"We're pleased for them. They haven't played like young players and they deserve it."

At this stage the season Everton have collected the fewest points at home compared to any other Premier League season, something that was put to the Spaniard.

"It's a very interesting point because there have been contrasting results. I wouldn't say performances; I think at times we've had performances that have been good enough to get positive results but at home we haven't reached that.

"You're looking at two defeats from 16 away from home; that's probably a club record and it's as good as we've been. Since we beat Southampton, our standards and our performances away from home have been really strong and that's what we wanted. Clearly it's an away record that would get you top four in the League.

"At home is totally contrasting. Eight defeats is nowhere near good enough and that's where you normally build your league campaign, on the strength of the results at home, and that's a contrasting story that's very, very difficult to explain."

"At the moment, we know we need to be perfect and on top of that you are always holding your breath because maybe when you throw a two-goal lead with 12 minutes to go against West Ham, that could damage you.

"That is where the work is, believing immensely that we are a very good side, that we can rely on our fans and make Goodison a really tough place once more.

"I don't think you can consider tomorrow's game as a 'Goodison' performance. Tomorrow's game is the third in a five game block that we need to be at a very good level and clearly that is going to be very important for very different reasons than just playing at home.

"Being truly, truly honest this block of five games is a block and I don't think a defeat tomorrow would stop us from being a different team in the Merseyside derby and in the semi-final of the FA Cup.

"In the same way, a win tomorrow wouldn't guarantee us to be at the best level in the next two games."