Roberto Martínez described Champions League qualification as a genuine goal for Everton, not his sales pitch to land the manager's job, after being appointed as David Moyes's successor on a four-year contract on Wednesday.
The 39-year-old sealed his move from Wigan Athletic, beating candidates including Porto's Vítor Pereira in the process, having captivated the Everton chairman with his ambitions for the club. "When David [Moyes] first came to see me 11 years ago we were in a bad state and he said: 'You won't go down,'" said Bill Kenwright. "Roberto's first words were: 'I'll get you in the Champions League.' During the last four weeks I have met some of the finest individuals in football and the finest of them is sitting next to me now."
Martínez joked that Kenwright "has not put any pressure on me" with the Champions League admission but rather than backtrack on Everton's prospects of reaching the top four without the resources of their rivals, he said it is a realistic, long-term target.
"Champions League qualification is the challenge. It just comes with the title of being Everton manager," said the former Swansea City and Wigan manager. "I do feel you need to have that football dream. When I started at Swansea I always said we needed to work towards eventually getting the club in the Premier League and that sounded obscene when we were in League One. I went to Wigan and said we needed to get into Europe. You have to have that dream.
"I have no right to see Everton in the Champions League because there are clubs who operate in a completely different way financially but with time in football you can achieve anything. If I was given the finances to compete for the Champions League that would be the target straightaway. That is not what we have got here. What we have got here is an incredible platform and we need to follow that dream of getting into Europe and the Champions League. We know how difficult that is going to be against sides who have that aim at the start of a season because of the finances they have."
Martínez will bring his assistants Graeme Jones and Kevin Reeves, the goalkeeping coach Iñaki Bergara and conditioning coach Richard Evans to GoodisonPark as part of a new backroom team. The Spaniard rejected the chance to join Aston Villa in 2011 and held talks with Liverpool last summer but, despite refusing to be drawn on who turned down whom at Anfield, he admitted the time is right to leave Wigan after FA Cup success and relegation.
Martínez, who reduced the club's wage bill by 22% during his four years, said of Liverpool's approach: "We had conversations but it wasn't right for them or for me. This time round it is completely different. There is a right time or a wrong time and last season or the other times wasn't right. My relationship is very strong with the Wigan chairman and we had our little aims and targets that we pursued. But now is the right time and Everton fits.
"It is a fascinating fact that only 14 managers have had the privilege and honour to be at this football club. That gives you the sense of responsibility and secondly it shows you are going to get time to work and for me that is important. The way this club is set up it is a phenomenal football club and I really value that statistic about only 14 managers. I have big shoes to fill because what David Moyes has done for Everton is incredible. But it is easier to walk in after him than into a football club without any direction, without any real success and one that is starting from scratch."
Kenwright confirmed that Everton may lose Marouane Fellaini to a Champions League club activating the Belgian's £24m release clause but said "the others are not for sale". The chairman added: "One thing we agreed on straightaway was that we couldn't allow the standards and positions that David Moyes achieved to slip.
"I have got to play my part in that, too. The board has got to support the manager if we want Champions League. We've got to keep it going. Roberto talked about that and he was saying that, at this club, the aim is to be in the Champions League. It's Europe first but then it's Champions League."
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