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Martinez pleased with home advantage

by | 30/08/2014  Comments (8)  jump

Despite being drawn in what some observers have likened to a Champions League group, Roberto Martinez was satisfied with yesterday's Europa League draw.

The Blues were matched with German Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, last season's third-place French Ligue 1 team Lille, and comparatively unknown Russian side Krasnodar, a grouping that raised eyebrows once all the balls had been drawn at yesterday's event in Monaco.

Wolsfburg manager, Klaus Allofs, whose team will be the first visitors to Merseyside from the group on 18th September said: It will not be easy. It looks a bit like a Champions League group.

Lille coach Rene Girard meanwhile remarked that, "It's a very complicated draw. Wolfsburg and Everton are very good. This group is as tough as Monaco's in the Uefa Champions League."

And Andriy Dykan of Krasnodar said: "Our group is one of the toughest. It will be very interesting. We must prove that we deserve to play on this stage."

Other clubs were just relieved to have avoided Everton who were the top-seeded side in pot 3.

"It's a good draw, especially avoiding Everton from the third pot," commented Maarten Martens, midfielder for PAOK who were drawn into Group K with Fiorentina, French side Guingamp and Dinamo Minsk.

Graeme Sharp, who was part of the Everton party in Monaco for the draw, was more focused on the travel implications for the Blues than the opposition, particularly the long trip to Krasnodar in early October that is sandwiched between trips to Liverpool and Manchester United.

"We knew it was going to be tough but when the first two came out and it was Lille and Wolfsburg that wasn't bad for us travel-wise," the former striker said. "But the Russia team is a hard one for us.

"It's a long, long flight and we have to see how we adapt to Thursday-Sundays that the Europa League throws us into now.

"You've seen teams in the past suffer from it. Roberto has been active in the summer and that's why, because it will be a big workload. We finished fifth in the league and this is the reward so we have to enjoy that reward."

Martinez, however, believes that the fact that his side will kick off their campaign at Goodison Park and also conclude their Group H fixtures at home is a big advantage.

"The last game is at home and I'm really, really pleased with that," he told evertonfc.com. "Starting and finishing at home, I think we can use our crowd and Goodison to good effect and to our advantage, because it's a really challenging and testing group.

"Wolfsburg have got a really good side, really experienced players and will be a really good test for us. Lille pushed Porto very hard in their Champions League qualifier. And so you're talking about two teams with real Champions League potential.

"Then, Krasnodar have been the surprising team, if you like, beating Real Sociedad over two legs (3-1 on aggregate). In the first game, they were well beaten, but the home leg I think shows it's going to be a really difficult environment to cope with over there.

"So, we'll be heavily challenged but we're excited and looking forward to it starting."  


Reader Comments (8)

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Simon Smith
1 Posted 30/08/2014 at 09:06:59
Great to be at home for the first and last games in the group.
Here's hoping we can get off to a flyer with a couple of wins to start with which would go a long way to seeing us progress to the knock out stages.
Jon Ferguson
2 Posted 30/08/2014 at 10:17:55
I'd rather be facing good teams than no-marks. As far as I'm concerned, we want to play in Europe to compete against other good teams.
James Marshall
3 Posted 30/08/2014 at 10:20:30
Yep, home first and last is pleasing. I like the draw, some decent teams rather than just playing a load of shite we've never heard of from countries that have only existed for 20 minutes.

David Hallwood
4 Posted 30/08/2014 at 11:23:41
I’m with Jon (#2) – you gotta beat the best to be the best. To quote George Dubya: "Bring it on!"
Steve Guy
5 Posted 30/08/2014 at 11:33:41
Good practice for the Champions League next season!
Jim Bennings
6 Posted 30/08/2014 at 11:47:20
Definitely agree with the comments, about wanting to face good teams.

That what we have got back in Europe for, for the fans to enjoy trips to fantastic venues such as Wolfsburg and Lille and well it's an experimence going over to Krasnodar too I suppose.

Wolfsburg and Lille wouldn't be out of place in the Champions League and I for one am excited at the prospect if playing them both.

As far as what we need to do well you'd think at least 7 points at home would be required, it won't be easy getting more than one or two draws away to these sides.

On paper Krasnodar would be the weakest but any trip to Russia is difficult.

I would imagine Lille and Wolfsburg are both pretty strong at home with a good vocal backing.

Steve Jenkins
7 Posted 30/08/2014 at 12:20:01
Great to be back in Europe, we've beaten top 4 Prem sides last year so we can get out of this group.

We need to take a point a Lille & Wolfsburg, which we can do.

Iakovos Iasonidis
8 Posted 30/08/2014 at 13:57:12
Maarten Martens is speaking the truth. Everton are respected much more outside England that in previous years.

I remember 2009 with AEK people did not know what to expect, there was no fear. Same with Larissa even though Everton was a very solid team back then and won easily beat teams.

Martinez's style of play has earned many partisans. In Greece the majority of people support Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal and lately Chelsea. If Everton continue to play positive football, it will not earn only respect but a lot of people will start to support the team and worldwide fanbase is always something very important, something Everton lacks deeply today.

Martens may be happy we avoided Everton but I am very disappointed. It was a great opportunity to visit Goodison Park...


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