Everton boss Roberto Martinez will shake the hand of Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho on Saturday and says he can understand their interest in John Stones, despite earlier claiming they pressured the defender over a move to Stamford Bridge.
Martinez said last month that he believed Chelsea’s approach for Stones had put “massive pressure” on the young England defender and claimed “the transfer request was something he didn’t mean to do”. The Goodison Park boss has though made it clear his anger does not lie with Chelsea and Mourinho, but rather the transfer window itself – which Martinez is a huge detractor of.
Asked whether he would shake the hand of Mourinho ahead of Saturday’s lunchtime tussle, he said: “Of course I will, yes. I am against the window being open once the season has started and clubs being able to put in bids when the competition is on.
“I am not against clubs being interested in our players. I understand [Mourinho’s interest] 100%.
“But you cannot come out and comment about another player of another club because the Premier League rules do not allow you to do it. We’re adult enough to understand why it happened – it can put a little bit more pressure.
“It’s not accepted by the Premier League rules but it is something that happens. That’s why I think it’s important that when the transfer window is open and you get these kind of situations, it shouldn’t affect the preparation for a game.
“The talk won’t affect this game. John has been performing at a very good level and gone from strength to strength in a period of high pressure.
“He’s taken the support of us all and performed with great composure and maturity. Then you see how he performs for England in such a natural manner and that’s a sign of the player we have.”
Martinez meanwhile, who tried to prise Andriy Yarmolenko away from Dymano Kiev to fill the No 10 void at Goodison, has also revealed the playmaker solution may well lie within the club after Ross Barkley’s encouraging start to the season, Arouna Kone’s emergence and the return to fitness of Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman.
“We have a good relationship with Dynamo Kiev because we played them in the Europa League and they did not want to lose the player as they are in the Champions League after five years and that was the end of the story.
“But the relationship is very good and it was very clear that the player was not going to be available. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future but at the moment the club want him for the Champions League and we’ll have to assess it after that,” added Martinez.
“We had a few options where we felt the player could fit in from a technical point of view but not from a physical point of view. Also, I felt that having Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar fully fit will be a good opportunity to see how significant they can be in the squad.
“Also, the emergence of a more mature Barkley who can fill that role in a different way to 12 months ago is very important.
“I feel Arouna Koné is becoming an important member of the squad after injury and that gives us a different option which means we don’t really need the No 10 we were thinking of last season. It was a combination of all those.”