Apr 282014

Blues hopes of qualifying for the Champions League suffered a blow when they lost 2-0 at Southampton

Roberto Martinez refuses to accept that Everton FC’s bad luck with injuries caught up with them at Southampton.

The Blues hopes of qualifying for the Champions League suffered a blow when they lost 2-0 at St Mary’s on Saturday.

But Martinez was not willing to blame their rotten fortune for the defeat which leaves their top four hopes in the balance.

Everton have eight senior players on the side-lines and lost Sylvain Distin and Kevin Mirallas to injury after the win over Manchester United the previous weekend.

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Southampton V Everton FC at St Mary’s Stadium. Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda

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Martinez promoted 16-year-old Ryan Ledson to the first-team squad for the weekend’s game and he was joined on the bench by fellow Academy graduates Tyias Browning and Luke Garbutt.

But the Catalan manager insists their injury problems cannot be used as mitigation for their loss against the Saints.

And Martinez says the fact that Everton have won eight out of the last 10 games with such injury headaches only emphasises how well they have performed this season.

“What our squad does highlight is just what a phenomenal season we’ve had to get 24 points out of the last 30 with eight injuries in the first-team,” said Martinez.

“We’ve never once used that as an excuse or felt sorry for ourselves.

“Young players have come in and performed really, really well.

“On Saturday we had Ryan Ledson in the squad, he is only 16 and has an incredible future.

“Luke Garbutt managed to play and Tyias Browning was in the squad and that’s what we are as a football club.”

Everton remain in the hunt for Champions League qualification but know that one point from their remaining two games will guarantee a place in the Europa League for next season.

Martinez told the ECHO last week that he wants four strikers next season if they secure European football.

And the Blues boss has confirmed that he hopes to bring in as many as seven fresh faces.

“It will be about increasing the squad because when you are in Europe you need to have another six or seven players,” he said.

“We will do that and it’s not an issue.

“Every summer is busy and we signed 10 players in the last two windows. I never get worried about losing players, I get excited about bringing in new players. You always need fresh blood.

“We have an incredible group of senior players who hold the whole dressing room together and all we need is fresh talent to help the team.”

More Everton FC news:

Don’t despair: five reasons why the Blues can still smile

EFC analysis: Loss can be a lesson for young Blues

Greg O’Keeffe’s verdict: Everton give up on hopes of Champions League with little but tired sigh

Top tweets: the Twitter reaction to Southampton 2 Everton 0

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