Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists he is still the right man for the job after an FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United increased pressure on his position.
Martinez defiant on future
Asked whether he felt he was still the man to take Everton forward amid growing speculation that this was a game he had to win to survive, he said: “I am. I have got so attached to this football club and my ambition is exactly the same as this club’s ambition.
“We have handled our assets really well, the squad has a great valuation. We develop young players very well and I share the drive the football club has, which is to get into the Champions League and to bring silverware back to Everton.”
Martinez has faced growing unrest from Everton’s fans, who jeered their team off at half-time at Wembley before a second-half rally brought them back into the game.
There will now be renewed pressure on Martinez after the end of their trophy hopes and with Everton lying in 11th place in the Premier League.
He said: “I just feel that every season we are developing and showing certain signs that we can please our fans and bring them the silverware they deserve but of course this is a difficult day.”
Lukaku finds support
Martinez defended striker Romelu Lukaku after he endured a miserable semi-final of missed chances and had a second-half penalty saved by Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.
He said: “I always feel strikers need to be measured in the chances they create and sometimes you need to give credit to the goalkeeper. I thought we created as a team and he showed his power and his uniqueness. I don’t think that’s a worry at all.
“I thought his second-half performance was one of a mature footballer. He held the ball up and we played around him. He is only 22. It shows we want to give young players big roles.”
‘As cruel as football can be’
“The feeling we share now is that this is as cruel as football can be,” said Martinez.
“I thought it was a terrific game but it took us 45 minutes to get into our rhythm, although then we showed a strong mentality to stay in the game and we created the best two chances.
“In the second half, I thought we built up incredible tempo and intensity to impose ourselves on the game but at the end the whole story becomes very heartbreaking.”