Phil Jagielka insists Everton’s players are “massively behind” the methods of Roberto Martinez as he called on the Blues to stand up and be counted.
The skipper scotched suggestions it is time for a heated dressing-room inquiry led by the Catalan, and believes Martinez’s success in his debut season is fuelling heightened scrutiny of the manager.
A 2-0 New Year’s Day loss at Hull City became Everton’s fourth consecutive Premier League defeat, but Jagielka reckons the players must take responsibility for the ongoing slump.
Everton are now 13th in the table and only four points off the drop-zone, a startling predicament for a club that finished fifth last term.
Asked whether it had reached the point when Martinez was under pressure at Goodison, the defender said: “We’re massively behind him. I don’t think it’s come to that point.
“You see pundits, newspapers or social media but things haven’t gone from hero to zero in the space of nine games.
“At the end of the day we go out there to play and if we don’t pick up results, the manager will take a bit of the blame but the players have to go out there and perform. We’ve got a lot to answer for and the only way we can make it up to the fans is by winning games.”
Jagielka does not feel a clear-the-air session is required between the first-team squad, and is adamant they remain a united front.
“I don’t think that’s the style of the management team,” he said. “I think there are enough experienced lads in there, we’re not a bunch of kids. We’ve been in similar situations before.
“The way we performed last season was so far removed from this that people have started to look upon it a little bit harder.
“We know we’re not where we want or need to be and it’s only us who can sort it out.”
The England international said he empathised with the disillusioned supporters who made the trip to the KC stadium on a cold New Year’s day.
“It’s not a good place to be as an Evertonian when you’re not that confident in us keeping clean sheets and you wouldn’t be too confident in us scoring too many goals,” he said.
“It’s not a good combination at the moment but we’ve got some good players and some good characters in this squad and we need to come to the fore.
“We need to start keeping some clean sheets and giving the strikers a chance to get the match-winning moments, rather than chase something down trying to nick a draw. We’ve all got our parts to play.
“It’s not been the greatest new year’s day but there are still plenty of games to go.”
Everton were the only Premier League side to lose all their festive fixtures, but the 32-year-old refused to blame a congested schedule for the current malaise.
He said: “It’s not the first time in the Premier League we’ve played so many games in such a short period of time. We enjoyed having three or four games in quick succession in the past to build momentum.
“The way things have been going we’d have liked a little bit more time in between with injuries and things like that but that’s football these days.
“As much as we keep saying we’ve been unlucky at times, that’s now four losses on the spin and it’s plainly not good enough.”
Reflecting on another woeful defensive display, the captain added: “We lacked confidence going into it and then conceding twice, the second just before half time, sort of took the wind out of our sails.
“We tried to change things around second half, possibly improved our performance, but got nothing out of it. There’s a lot of things to sort out but hopefully we can get a result in the FA Cup next week and that can give us a bit of confidence and in turn we can start getting some points in the league.”
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