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Martinez rejects accusations that Everton have gone 'soft'

01/01/2015  Comments (58)  jump

Roberto Martinez has responded to recent criticism that Everton are too soft, saying that his team's preference for a "technical approach" does not mean they can't defend.

He also dismisses the notion that his players should get more aggressive with match officials in order to get favourable decisions.

The Blues have now lost three successive games for the first time under Martinez's leadership and been the victim of controversial officiating in recent weeks.

Ex-Everton striker, Andy Gray, suggested after the 3-2 defeat at Newcastle on Sunday that the Toffees had gone "soft", which the manager rejects.

We're not," he says. "Arsenal get accused of this as well just because we are teams that want to be on the ball, want to control the game and want to have a technical approach in our performance. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't be able to defend. Of course you should be able to defend.

"In the modern game you need to defend with 11 players. That's just an easy way out of trying to explain why we are conceding too many goals. We're not too soft.

He also disagrees with the assertion that his team's reluctance to get into the face of referees after Magpies striker, Papiss Cisse, got away with a blatant elbow to the side of Seamus Coleman's face.

Do you need that to get that elbow spotted? You get to a point where you expect the referee to do his job in those situations, Martínez continues. We've got the same collective and same aggressive outlook that we had last season. The nature of the team has not changed at all. If we had lost certain players who give you that you could say that but we have exactly the same players.

We have important players in the dressing room like Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka, Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert and they are big leaders. But if we don't have them that should not be the reason for losing a match.

Martinez takes the Blues to the KC Stadium today hoping to start the New Year off with three much-needed points. He insists that his team is not out of the running for the top four despite a return of just four points from the last 21 available since Everton secured their place in the Europa League on 22nd November.

I think our target in the league is always the same, he says in The Mirror. You are accumulating the points that you have until the final third of the season, then you need to push for your aim.

We have an overall aim, which is trying to get into the top four and that is not going to change.

Can we achieve it this season? Once we get into the next international break, there will be eight games left and then we see exactly where we are."

Quotes sourced from The Guardian

Reader Comments (58)

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Jack Okell
2 Posted 01/01/2015 at 01:51:33
ItÂ’s just all bullshit isnÂ’t it really. This and that.

I donÂ’t want him to leave/get bulleted, but just shut up for a while. Do your talking on the pitch. That goes for the players too.

Michael Penley
4 Posted 01/01/2015 at 02:10:43
The difference between us and Arsenal is Wenger admitted that his players werenÂ’t tough enough. From what I recall, it worked and they started playing better. Can you ever imagine Martinez saying that? Not all criticism is bad.
Kieran Kinsella
5 Posted 01/01/2015 at 02:36:57
I donÂ’t think we should get hung up in his words. Roy Keane always has lots to say and everyone seems eager to listen but as a manager he was a clown. Fergie always came across as a belligerent man with limited vocabulary in interviews but his record was amazing. I think we waste too many hours on listening to these people these days instead of just watching games.

I also think hooliganism is reemerging as a force of vitriolic hatred directed against coaches. Irvine, Taylor, Pardew etc have been put through hell. I hope we donÂ’t treat Martinez the same way. Criticize him? Yes. Boo when appropriate? Yes. But avoid the hateful abuse.

Danny Kewley
6 Posted 01/01/2015 at 03:19:00
Happy new year to all Toffees the world over!

If you know yer history.... !

Harold Matthews
7 Posted 01/01/2015 at 04:11:48
WeÂ’ve been a soft touch for a long time. For rivals and for officials.

When Guardiola took over Barca it was the first thing he sorted out.

James Stewart
8 Posted 01/01/2015 at 05:22:31
Soft touch, unprofessional, whatever you want to call it we definitely are it. So are Arsenal which is why they wonÂ’t win anything either. The best teams are built on a solid defence which is something Martinez will never master.
Malcolm Kitchen
9 Posted 01/01/2015 at 05:30:45
First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all Everton fans. IÂ’m fairly new on here, I do read the comments often though! Where to start?

1. Martinez must have rocks in his head to say we played fantastic in a lot of games lately

2. Please drop Barry he is a liability, Besic is miles better

3. We are soft, full stop

4. Robles is useless, everytime he plays we lose, heÂ’s a jinx

5. I hope we get Gerry back and sign Chantome and Ruddy

6. I wish Martinez would say it as it is, it makes him look a knob otherwise. At least Moyes did!

Peter Barry
12 Posted 01/01/2015 at 06:28:56
Seems that just like "Maggie’ Roberto’s not for turning.
Richard Lyons
13 Posted 01/01/2015 at 07:57:16
So, he’s saying we can defend, and we aren’t soft...

So, Bobby what ARE the reasons for our crap performances?

Joe Foster
14 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:31:31
I think Roberto needs some proper psychiatric help. Maybe get him sectioned.
Joe Foster
15 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:38:06
"technical approach" ?????. Is it him or me that’s lost the plot?? I give up on this idiot.
Karl Jones
16 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:43:48
A man in denial. He’ll still be saying the same things when we’re in the bottom three in March, as he did with Wigan.
Ian McDowell
17 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:45:04
Yawn, more words. Lets see it on the pitch.
Eugene Kearney
18 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:46:50
Happy and Get-Back-Up-There New Year to Everton and all Everton fans.

.....and well said Kieran Kinsella #5

Let’s get a win at Hull today (three defeats will have pissed everyone off and that will drive them!!!) - and get 2015 off to a bright start......


Jim Bennings
19 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:42:32
A few things to touch on here.

The difference between us and Arsenal is that they have far better players than us, at least going forward, hence why they always finish above us and are regulars in the Champions League.
They have the pace and intricacy, technically gifted players that sadlywe are lacking.

Secondly we don’t defend well as a team, defending as a team means high pressing up the pitch that begins with the forward/s.
Guardiola made Barcelona the envy of Europe not just through the wonderful talents his team showed with the ball but the rabid hunger and workrate to win back possession when they lost it.

Finally I agree that I don’t want to see Martinez sacked or leave, at least not get, I don’t feel it’s the answer one bit.
He needs at least another good transfer window and at least the end of this season, and see how it goes half way through next term.

What he does need to do though is realise that he needs to have more than one way of playing.
I admire his principles but when it’s not working sometimes you need to ask yourself why?

We need to play productive football that gets back to winning matches.
At the minute we are good at the back and we are not really good in attack either.
The team needs a backbone to start winning matches and get back to the basics that Everton are, or atleast were once good at.

Patrick Murphy
20 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:29:27
Everton as a club are a soft touch - which other club would mildly accept that it is just the luck of the draw that three away games during the holiday period have seen Evertonians travelling the length and breadth of the country e.g. Southampton, Newcastle and Hull between the 20th December and today. As for the officiating it has nothing to do with Everton getting in their faces it is just a case that the club doesn’t have the money or media backing that other clubs have and therefore from that perspective we are an ’easy’ touch.

As for Bobby - if we had played anywhere near our capabilities in the first eight games or even our previous eight games then those final eight games of the season may have provided an interesting and possibly enjoyable end to the last third of the season. It is the here and now that counts for most supporters and if there is no sign of improvement today or in the next few weeks we won’t be looking forward to any of the games in the last third of the season.

Happy New Year to everyone let’s hope 2015 proves to be a little kinder to Everton FC than last year was.

Ernie Baywood
21 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:53:08

We are not soft
We like to control games
We are still a chance for top four

He really said all those things didn’t he?

I’d suggest he watches the games a bit more attentively but that appears to be what he does for 90 minutes. He’s sure as shit not pondering tactical or player changes.

Sorry but the bloke’s goose is cooked. It would take an incredible turnaround for him to build trust and faith again.

Jim Bennings
22 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:00:16

I agree with most of what you say, to be honest I’m down about Everton this season it’s the most frustrating season I have seen from an Everton side for year’s and the football has been mind numbing at times but I just feel to sack Martinez right now would not help matters.

Martinez has frustrated mr this season with his stubbornness and reluctance to have a variety of ways to play and I do feel he’s gone down Moyes road of playing square pegs in round holes, examples like Eto’o and Barkley out wide.

I think he shouldn’t be given a little more time, I understand and would be in total agreement that if our form has worsened or stayed the same in another two months then maybe action needs taking.

Lets not forget the players also need to start standing up and I suppose it comes back to this mental toughness, and a lack of strong characters in the dressing room debate again doesn’t it?
Where are the self motivator’s?
The men to gee up the lads and give a fucking good war cry?

I think everyone from Martinez, to his coaching staff right through to the players all need to share the blame for this season.

Jim Bennings
23 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:16:50
#NOT good at the back
Joe Foster
24 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:16:54
Look all I want is for him to come good. For us to start winning and play football worth watching.
Howard Parr
25 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:14:32
Jim #19 - spot on re work rate, which is needed with and without possession. Our best player by a mile this year is Naisy... because he tracks back,presses,leaves a foot in – but also works to get on the ball when we have it.

RM talks about enjoyment – but its easy when we’re winning,and everyone wants the ball then. When the chips are down, THAT’S when you need bottle to effect the game and bust a gut to get on the ball... too many hide and wait for someone else to do the right thing.

Huge game today – hope Kevin Brock is playing!

Paul Dark
26 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:32:06
Jack, 2: I agree.

Thing about Roberto isn’t just the words, it’s the ideology that frustrates. He has a ready-made (i.e. pre-fabricated) answer for real questions - which I personally think is dangerous. It makes him like a politician. Scary ... .

On a specific note: Howard, Jags, Hibbo and Ossie are not leaders. Absurd as it sounds, Besic would be our best captain at the moment, in my view. At very least, his place would be guaranteed.

I predict 1-1 today - but hope we can win somehow.

Happy New Year!


Paul Dark
27 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:37:03
I really approve of the passing game - and of all other clubs in England, I admire Arsenal most. I just worry that Roberto is giving the technical game a bad name at GP - which is a real shame. I would never want to go back to Moyes, and Pulis must never be considered. If you consider him, then you really don’t know your history.

Still, long-term he could yet build a great dynasty, but going down is an unacceptable price for it. I think the media attacks are good; they will create some togetherness and a slight siege mentality which will help RM’s (less-than-outstanding) man-management skills.

Ian Burns
28 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:46:00
HAPPY NEW YEAR to all EFC supporters wherever you are in the world.

Please Mr Martinez - top 4? Please take your delusional b/s elsewhere - I for one can’t stand any more of your myopic utterances.

Derek Knox
29 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:00:10
I think he should throw the feather duster at the players, and see how they react.
Colin Glassar
30 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:49:28
Posts # 2 and 5 sum up my opinion on this subject . A) Shut up Roberto and fix it. B) Stop over analysing everything he says. It’s almost like he has a recorded message in his head and he won’t/can’t say anything different.
He is like Wenger in a way. He wants to play beautiful football but he wants other teams to allow us to express ourselves. Unfortunately, in the real world this doesn’t happen but I don’t pay much attention to what he says as he really doesn’t say anything of substance.
He’s a stubborn bugger who will never admit, publicly, to any failings or shortcomings but I bet he will be working behind the scenes to sort this out.
Colin Glassar
31 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:04:40
Oh, and a happy 2015 to you all.
Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:15:31
I like Robbie and continue to hope that he will get it right at Everton, I stopped listening to him months ago, those of us who go to the game or watch us onTV can see for ourselves that the team. have been continually poor for most of the season and no amount of words can disguise this.
Steven Telford
34 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:20:18
It’s not a matter of soft or hard.
It’s a matter of being un-adaptable and consistently predictable. There is plenty of room for Martinez general philosophy, however it just has to be rotated and tailored to particular positions.

His lack of general lack of concerned for the importance of defending is however shocking.
Thing like being two galas up and to keep pressing rather than consolidating is truly daft - even a Sunday league manager would accommodate that switch.

Ant Summers
35 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:41:21
Until the ones on the Gravy Train behind him In the dugout, start telling him what they think is happening on the pitch RM Will only listen to himself. Needs a big person to step up and say it. We obviously have dumb people who will say nothing. Worried about their jobs...maybee.
Denis Richardson
36 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:08:11
Wish Roberto would stop going on about how good we were last season and that we’ve still got the same players.

Fact is we’ve been shit since April and something is obviously wrong. We can’t just keep doing the same and hoping it will suddenly change.

Also interesting to see no mention of Distin in the senior players he listed...

Jim Bennings
37 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:18:30

There are many rumours that Martinez and Distin don’t get on all that well.
Who knows if they are just rumours or not but it’s something that has cropped up many times, usually there’s no smoke without fire.

James Hughes
38 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:20:50
Perhaps that is why Besic is not getting more games... maybe RM considers him too physical?
John Malone
39 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:23:01
Kone is a big boost and has got to start the way he held the ball up and spun past his man was class he looks like the quality we’ve been missing to build attacks from.

If Martinez can make the best use of this transfer window and bring in a good goalie, a pacy right winger who can deliver a final ball and a strong centre half I’d have good reason to think we could turn our season around and finish the season well, only time will tell!

Murdo Laing
40 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:10:28
HNY one and all, and here’s to 2015, a pivotal year for our great club. Firstly, I don’t think anyone is conned by the relentless positivity which RM spouts, but also we must accept that he is obliged to speak with the media, and I ask myself what else can he do other that accentuate the positive? Publicly questioning his system or his players does no good. It needs to stay at Finch Farm. As other posts have said, less talking, more action would go down well Bobby, and comparisons to Arsenal are simply ludicrous IMO. There is no doubt we are soft, and I am forcibly reminded of that game under Walter where an irate Everton fan ran on the pitch( at Highbury?)to remonstrate with midfielder Alex Nyarko for a lack of desire. Whilst I would never commend that behaviour, I think we all knew where that fan was coming from in terms of extreme frustration with players when they are visibly under performing. At the moment, it is evident some players are going through the motions, and cannot wait for the final whistle, Any disquiet in the camp ( Jags, Bryan, Mo ?) needs to be dealt with and quickly. Robbie has to be brave, and pragmatic, and put the likes of Besic and Oviedo in there if (as many fans I ’m sure agree) both should be given a run in the team at DM and LM respectively to add some guile and aggression in areas that are lacking.( There, I promised myself I wouldn’t rant, but that’s exactly what I’ve done !)

We love you Everton FC , we really do, but to those players I say, don’t give us anything less that your total commitment and maximum effort.Our motto ? Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.

Kunal Desai
41 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:25:51
The difference between Arsenal able to play a technical game is they have players who are nimble with pace and are "technically gifted" At Everton you don’t have those players. If you want to play a technical game RM then put in an request to your employer for 𧶲 million transfer ware chest. You will get an instant response.

Start again clean, swallow your pride and change the football, it’s not been working this season. Also with the window open get rid of any ’rotten eggs’ in the camp and bring back some spirit and unity within the side.

Phil Walling
42 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:30:26
Apart from a few of Martinez’s disciples, I think all Evertonians would welcome less of the psycho babble and get to see some bloody good wins under our belt regardless of tactics, style or philosophies.

We no longer have the luxury of studying the aesthetics of the game - we need points. If only we could find a way to win a few, we would look a whole lot tougher !

Gary Carter
43 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:36:13
The incredibly arrogant Cretinez really is on another planet isnÂ’t he, I mean talk about being in total denial !!!! I can almost see it now

Interviewer: so Roberto, a 3 nil defeat to palace must have you worrying now

Cretinez: yes, the players responded marvellously and with fantastic technical ability to turn the game around to win 4-3

Interviewer: errrm but Roberto you lost 3-0 at home to palace to leave you in the bottom three

Cretinez: no I think you will find it was a fantastic and outstanding technical performance to leave us with a great chance of getting to the champions league final

George McKane
44 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:02:16
Some over-the-top comments, any need for Cretinez, really – sure, disagree all you like but what do you want him to do? Slag the players and the club and the style of play in the media or tell the press what he is going to do? Mmm... or maybe (and like most of us I don’t really know what he is like in the dressing room/training) he can try and stay positive, maintain his beliefs and philosophy (these are things I personally admire in people), but get tough with the players who need shaking/waking up in private.

I’ve heard enough of our our club and players being downplayed under Moyes.

Tough times for us all... let’s see how we come out of it, together.

Best wishes to ALL Blues – Wishing you a Happy Blue Year.

Joe Foster
46 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:13:42
I personally think he is coming across now as a very unlikeable person. At first I thought it was positivity and charm, but not so much now.
Paul Dark
49 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:29:13
Joe, 46: why do you think he’s unlikeable? Can you be precise?

Gary: loved your pastiche, quite crude but funny in its absurdity. It reminded me of Don Quixote, that great early modern Spanish example of self-delusional ideology.

I just hope we can start climbing the table, anything other than relegation.

Paul Dark
51 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:36:11
Col - anything from inside the camp, mate? I know you think he’ll come good. Are you concerned about the incoherence of so much of what he does? Or is that his genius?
Joe Foster
52 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:37:30
Paul can not be precise just a feeling that he wants to be mr media friendly too much. A bit like some one trying too hard to be your mate
Colin Glassar
53 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:43:44
No news Paul. I just want a win today but this has draw written all over it.
Paul Dark
54 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:47:07
Col - agreed
Joe Foster
55 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:51:32
And don’t get me wrong I want to like him. Even my bird says didn’t you think he was great last season (and I was impressed at the start) but right now I don’t like what I see and I do feel let down.
George McKane
56 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:45:02
Machiavelli once said that there were some virtues - - such as generosity and mercy - - that would result in a Prince being hated by his subjects.
Debussy also said that genius would always be seen as a threat by others.
Nice to widen the debate.
Regarding culture and art and theatre and literature I am a complete elitist. I guess that makes me not very nice. I have a very fervent and deep philosophy about theatre and do not change my thoughts or ideals or indeed answers to suit the people around ( especially the media - - who I have many dealings with) or the audiences and I work with very excluded and isolated young people who think that culture and art is not for them - - but I introduce then to Pradjanov,Klimov, Michel Carne,Odip Madelstam, Massachio, Cimabue.
Rave On.
If they like it or not it makes no difference to my work.
Thank goodness we can all disagree and still support The Blues.
Last week on City Talk I managed to get Tarkovsky into a football chat.
I for one am more than willing to support Everton and Martinez’s concept of that he wants at Everton.
But I completely respect and accept of course everyone else ’s right to disagree with me and think I am talking rubbish.
Arriverderchi Roma as they say in New Brighton.
Colin Glassar
57 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:57:22
Best post by a mile this year George. Bravo, bravo.
Joe Foster
58 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:04:38
Yes George good post and I don’t believe anyone here is advocating not supporting the team. I think it is my right to question them be it manager or players
Steven Telford
59 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:03:41
George, from one sophistocrat to another, I feel I must press you for your introspection as to what were the stars of this passing panto season?
Joe Clitherow
60 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:16:22
Barry, Besic, Barkley in the side but no Mccarthy or Lukaku. Hmmm
George McKane
61 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:17:41
Arthur Askey and Esther Rantzen ( who I believe has been declared a National Dame).
Steven Telford
62 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:25:02
God Bless you ;-)
Iain Davies
64 Posted 01/01/2015 at 15:57:00
Get this charlatan out of the club now before it’s too late.
Murdo Laing
65 Posted 01/01/2015 at 17:16:24
Just seen Bobby's post match interview on the BBC. More of the same , but I did sense that behind the usual gloss he puts on a bad performance, there was a genuine look of deep worry about the man. He referred to "key moments" in the game when things went against them. It really does seem that Bobby looks at football in a completely different way, he is analytical, yet at the same time, bereft of any sort of sense of how seriously bad his team played. Is it just me?
Mike Hughes
66 Posted 01/01/2015 at 18:49:12

We are changing our official website address to:

Ernie Baywood
67 Posted 01/01/2015 at 20:12:30
Seeing as how RM loves a stat...

There is only one thing worse than being considered the dirtiest team in the Premier League…. being considered the most timid. Managers assess their yellow card statistics and crave mid-table disrespectability. Too high and you're undermining your chances of victory through lack of discipline, but too low and you're letting the cynical opponents bully you. Everton, with just 161 fouls conceded this season, have gone from ‘dogs of war' to pacifist kittens according to the figures.

Eric Myles
68 Posted 03/01/2015 at 15:41:52
"Saying that his team's preference for a 'technical approach' does not mean they can't defend."

So what IS the reason that we can't defend??

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