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Everton at Manchester United: Roberto Martinez Pre-Match Quotes

It wouldn't be an international break without transfer speculation to respond to...

Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

After a two-week break to lick their wounds following the defeat to Arsenal, Everton now face a tough trip to Man United - their potential opponents in the FA Cup semi-final. To preview the clash, Roberto Martinez sat down with the assembled media at Finch Farm for his pre-match press conference but it was the speculation surrounding the future of star striker Romelu Lukaku that took centre stage.

In response to questioning of the Belgian's future, the Spaniard 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."

The gaffer continued by declaring:

"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."

In regards to Lukaku's comments about playing in the Champions League, his manager described the player's ambitions as matching the club's own.

"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."

But the gaffer did seem to have some ill-feeling towards international breaks and the comments that surface during them:

"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.

"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."

Away from Lukaku and his future, Martinez did manage to squeeze in some time to talk about another player who has been widely sought after:

"John Stones is 21 and is still developing. He is well ahead of where he should be at his age."

...and even a line about Sunday's opponents!

"Manchester United are still a team in transition. They won their derby and they could finish the season very strongly."