Feb 202015

Everton FC are ready to take their “perfect” European form into the Premier League in time to salvage their domestic campaign, says Roberto Martinez.

Spirits are high in the Goodison dressing room after a confidence boosting 4-1 away win over BSC Young Boys in the Europa League on Thursday, but the pressing matter of Leicester City’s visit on Sunday is next.

The Toffees have flattered to deceive in the league, where they are mired in 12th place, still just five points away from the relegation zone.

READ: Everton correspondent Phil Kirkbride’s verdict on a scintillating Toffees performance in Berne.

Rock-bottom Leicester travel to Merseyside in desperate need of points, but Martinez insists his side cannot afford to focus on anything but their own requirement for victory on Sunday.

He said: “We’ve been perfect in Europe. We’ve been brave, showed tremendous character and it’s helped our younger players to learn a lot very quickly.

Everton team group before the match VIEW GALLERY

“It highlights that we need to take that into the domestic form. We haven’t been able to get a real momentum but I do feel we’ve been very confident in our play in the last few games and I feel last night’s result will be the final push for us to really enjoy our football in every game in the league from now until the end of the season.

“We can’t look at the opposition or the table. We know that in our league nothing is given, and if anything you need to be perfect.

“I expect a competitive Leicester side. It’s going to be a really difficult game but I feel we are stronger. February was going to be a testing month and we’re getting stronger game by game.”

Leighton Baines will be in contention to face Leicester and could come back into the team in place of Bryan Oviedo, who faces a late fitness test after he was substituted with a minor hamstring problem at Stade de Suisse.

Aaron Lennon is also back available for the visit of the Foxes after being cup-tied for the game in Switzerland, while also returning to the fold is Arouna Kone, who was not risked on the artificial surface in Berne.

Everton's Gareth Barry looks dejected as he is sent off against Chelsea Everton’s Gareth Barry looks dejected as he is sent off against Chelsea

However Gareth Barry serves a one-match ban for the clash with Nigel Pearson’s strugglers, and after providing two assists against Young Boys his manager insists the veteran will be missed.

He said: “Gareth is vitally important for us but in the same manner we had five games in a period of three weeks and we wouldn’t have excepted Him to play all the minutes.

“We’re starting to get numbers back and it’s a good opportunity to bring someone else in and show we’re capable ff producing the same performance without Gareth in the side.

“You don’t want to have players like him missing but we’ll use it to get him refreshed and ready for the next few games around the corner.”

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