Martinez pleads for time to get the job done

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - TOTAL FOOTBALL FA CUP - By Chris Bas­combe at Wem­b­ley

As Roberto Martínez tried to put the dis­tress of a sec­ond semi-fi­nal de­feat of the sea­son into con­text, it could not be in­ter­preted as any­thing other than a plea to keep his job.

The dan­ger for Martínez in the af­ter­math of a cruel FA Cup de­feat is that his self-ap­praisal is more glow­ing than Ever­ton’s sup­port­ers, or even his board, are will­ing to ac­cept. He has re­ceived no as­sur­ances from Bill Ken­wright and ma­jor share­holder Farhad Moshiri, who must now de­cide who can best turn prom­ise into sub­stance.

“There are signs in the three years that I could have earned the op­por­tu­nity to drive the club for­ward,” in­sisted Martínez.

His ar­gu­ment was that the feel­ing of heart­break at Wem­b­ley re­flected how ex­pec­ta­tions had risen. He spoke of in­her­it­ing an older team that de­manded a shift to­wards youth that risked in­con­sis­tency. He ar­gued that a change of style, pro­mot­ing courage in pos­ses­sion, would lead to fur­ther Wem­b­ley vis­its, re­gard­less of how many league points were squan­dered.

At his most im­pas­sioned, he sug­gested that, hav­ing man­aged a tight bud­get, he de­served to be given the chance to op­er­ate in a dif­fer­ent trans­fer mar­ket now money was avail­able.

“I just want to be­lieve, with the work I have done for the last three years, there are signs there that we are get­ting close to chal­leng­ing for sil­ver­ware and where Ever­ton should be.

“We de­vel­oped young play­ers, gave them big Un­der pres­sure: Roberto Martínez stands by his record roles, and they re­acted and showed char­ac­ter, flair and drive in the big­gest foot­ball arena. In the first sea­son, we had the record num­ber of points in the Premier League and, in the sec­ond, the ex­pe­ri­ence of Europe. We have not in­vested money but man­aged as­sets.” But he ad­mit­ted: “We are a big club with big ex­pec­ta­tions and we have not won sil­ver­ware for 21 years. The in­tro­duc­tion of the new share­holder brings a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to the new squad. Clearly, at the end of the sea­son, we will need to make big moves and make sure we start with a strong team.” There is merit in much of what Martínez says, but with­out the re­sults to back him up he has never been so vul­ner­a­ble. At Wem- bley, the dis­mal first half made it seem that he would do well to sur­vive the trip home still in charge. But the half-time jeers gave way to ap­pre­cia­tive ap­plause in re­sponse to the trans­for­ma­tion and harsh man­ner of the de­feat in in­jury time.

Martínez faces a fed-up home crowd against Bournemouth next week­end and the play­ers’ re­sponse will most likely de­cide his fate. He has needed re­sults for a while but the team have not de­liv­ered.

“There are 12 points to play for. I feel we are a spe­cial team ... we are not in a sit­u­a­tion of cri­sis or chaos, fight­ing rel­e­ga­tion. We are talk­ing of dis­ap­point­ment be­cause we have not the chance to fin­ish high in the ta­ble,” he said.

What­ever Martínez’s fate, Ever­ton will be with­out their cap­tain. Phil Jagielka is un­likely to play again this sea­son, hav­ing de­fied the pain of a ham­string prob­lem at Wem­b­ley.

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