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Martinez approves of cup switch

15 Feb 2014 14:16:53

Martinez approves of cup switch

Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes his Wigan side were punished for reaching - and winning - the FA Cup final last season.

The Latics beat Manchester City to record a historic victory on the penultimate weekend of the campaign last May but then were relegated from the Premier League three days later with defeat in a rearranged match at Arsenal.

This season the FA Cup final has been moved back to its traditional place after the last week of the Premier League season and Martinez believes that is the correct decision, even if it came too late to help the Latics.

"The final got in the way of the final week," said the Spaniard, who is looking to win the trophy in back-to-back years with his Everton side facing Swansea at home in the fifth round on Sunday.

"Obviously you shouldn't rely on going into the final week to achieve your aim in the league.

"For any club going into the final week of the season, whatever your aim is in the league, you shouldn't get punished for playing in the FA Cup final, it should be the opposite - it should be a moment to treasure and enjoy.

"I don't think it was a really helpful issue when you had to play the FA Cup final the weekend before the final games of the season, which meant we had to play three games in the final week.

"I think that (making the final the last match of the season) is the right thing for every club involved in both competitions."

Wednesday's postponement of their league match with Crystal Palace because of high winds around Goodison Park throws up the potential for fixture congestion further down the line if the Toffees continue their cup progress.

Martinez, however, does not necessarily see that as a negative.

"While you are progressing through the fifth, sixth rounds and semi-final you build momentum and expands the squad because youngsters get an opportunity to show that they can do," he said of his experience with Wigan.

"It makes you stronger as a squad as you progress. Success in the cup can really help in the league and the other way around.

"It is just finding enough strength in the squad to face both competitions if you are going to get a fixture pile-up."

After Swansea, Everton travel to current league leaders Chelsea the following weekend but Martinez refuses to see the next fortnight as season-defining for his sixth-placed side.

"The longer you get involved in a cup competition is always a defining moment because every round you are fighting to stay in the competition," he said.

"Staying in the competition further than the fifth round is always significant but there is nothing different because we want to finish the season as strong as we can.

"It is not just doing well over the next two weeks, that is not good enough for our standards.

"The work we have done in the last eight months has got this squad ready with an incredible competition for places."

Swansea winger Nathan Dyer believes new head coach Garry Monk has already shown he shares some managerial expertise with former boss Roberto Martinez.

Monk has seen his side pick up four points from a possible six in the league since succeeding Michael Laudrup, and he has the chance to test himself against mentor Martinez on Sunday.

Martinez is widely credited with putting in place the passing philosophy which has served Swansea so well in their climb through the leagues, and Monk has readily expressed his admiration for the Spaniard and current Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.

Dyer, 26, was signed by Martinez, who he credits with helping his career take off after leaving Southampton, and can already see signs Monk has learned from the Toffees' boss.

"Managers like Roberto and Brendan Rodgers have that man management skill which is key, it's massive for players," he said.

"There are always going to be players who are not playing and they need to believe they're still good players and it's about getting them to work for you.

"Roberto did that for me when I first came here. He made me feel that I was Cristiano Ronaldo, I was on cloud nine and worked as hard as possible.

"Garry is similar. I have played with him for so many years and he'll always say to me what my qualities are and that I should keep going.

"He made me believe in myself and I am sure he will do that for other players too."

If Swansea are to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup at Goodison Park they will need to create history.

The Swans have never beaten Everton in 18 meetings dating back to 1931.


PA

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