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Martinez glad to pass test

Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes his side have passed their test against the top sides "with flying colours".

Last Updated: 13/12/13 at 13:37 Post Comment

Roberto Martinez: Entering a vital period

Roberto Martinez: Entering a vital period

Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes his side have passed their test against the top sides "with flying colours" but now wants his players to maintain their standards.

Last week the Toffees won at Old Trafford for the first time in 21 years and then followed that up with an impressive 1-1 draw at leaders Arsenal in a game they dominated for long periods.

But having raised their game for two of the bigger names, Martinez is wary there may be a slight drop off when Fulham visit Goodison Park.

"We have been on a real high," he said.

"As difficult as it can be to go to Old Trafford and the Emirates and perform it is difficult to maintain your standards when you come back home and you are playing a game where the expectations are going to be really high.

"It (last week) was a real test and I think we passed it with flying colours, which gives you an inner strength and belief which we need to develop for the demanding fixture list over Christmas."

It is a crucial period for every club at this time of year but for Everton, one point outside the top four, it is even more significant as three of their next four matches are at home to the Cottagers, Sunderland and Southampton.

That is why Martinez will not underestimate Fulham, who received a lift when Rene Meulensteen took over after Martin Jol's departure.

"We are excited about the performances we have had so far. We have four games now, three at home, and that is the only focus we should have as a football club," said the Spaniard.

"I think we have created a very consistent level throughout the season.

"When you have been able to get through to nearly halfway with just one defeat it shows we are carrying momentum.

"We all know this Fulham side will be tough opposition. In their last two performances they were completely different the way they approached the game, full of energy, and they have been galvanised by Rene Meulensteen.

"Rene is someone I have followed for a long time. He is someone who has been an innovative coach.

"He has always made a difference in what he has done, whether it be as a skills coach or working with the youth set up he has always brought different angles.

"He can bring a lot to Fulham."

The expectation is fully on Everton to win comfortably and forward Steven Naismith accepts the onus is on the players to set the tone.

"Every team at home we feel we can win but you have to go out and put on a good performance like the one against Newcastle where we came out of the traps quickly playing the way the manager wanted to play, knocking the ball about and getting men forward," he told Press Association Sport.

"We have to get to the point where teams dread coming to Goodison and come not expecting to get a win and that puts us on the front foot straight away."


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