ROBERTO MARTINEZ has urged his Everton players to embrace the weight of expectation – and continue their positive approach to games.
The Blues head to Old Trafford this lunchtime aiming for a third successive win over Manchester United having secured a memorable double over their North West rivals last season.
Such results earned Everton fifth place last season and have forced opponents to tread more carefully – as well as raising hopes of supporters.
IN PICTURES: Manchester United 0 Everton 1, 4 December 2013
“We’ve already seen this season that some clubs have been giving us a bit of respect,” says Martinez.
“At times that’s something you can use to your advantage, on other occasions it makes things a lot harder.
“It’s important for us to cope with those expectations and be able to use it to our advantage. That’s about fulfilling your potential as a club and squad.
“I hope we have risen expectations because that would be a good sign. That has always been the aim, that we will give everything we have got and try to win.
“We don’t want to be going to places looking at damage limitation or merely hoping for a result.
“In the same way, our fans are very realistic about what can be expected from us or not.
“We were clapped off against Chelsea when we lost 6-3 because our fans could see we gave everything from the first whistle.”
Martinez is convinced Everton have benefited from possessing greater belief going into big games.
“I don’t think you can achieve those kind of results on a regular basis unless you are expected to or you have a feeling you can get a result there,” says the Blues boss.
“Unless you get that feeling going into a game, you will never win.
“I’ve been in many games where people from the outside haven’t given us a chance but inside the squad we have known we have had an opportunity and then we win.
“And I’ve been in squads where there isn’t that feeling of getting a positive result, and you don’t get the positive result.
“It’s as simple as that. But it helps when the outside feeling is you can get a result, sometimes that filters through and it can effect the environment of the game.”
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