All the latest news, views and transfer rumours from Goodison Park...
Everton's FA Cup journey ended on Saturday, as Arsenal swept the Toffees aside in convincing fashion, winning 4-1 to set up a semi-final tie with Wigan Athletic. Manager Roberto Martinez insists that, despite being out of the cup, Everton still have plenty to play for during the rest of the season, but couldn't hide his disappointment at another season without silverware for the club.
"We are fully focused now," he says. "We have just got the league — 33 points to play for, which is a phenomenal amount. The season now is very much alive for us. As a group now we have got a clear indication of where we need to get"
"We are in a position where, because of our football club and the history we have, we should be expecting to win titles," Martinez added.
"It is going to be a bit of a process and a bit of work but I think you saw we are not far away from being able to go to Arsenal and be able to get through to an FA Cup semi-final.
A key part of Everton's success this season has been winger Gerard Deulofeu, who is on a season-long loan deal from Catalan giants Barcelona. The youngster suggested that he will return to the Camp Nou at the end of the season, but Martinez insists that there has been no decision yet and Deulofeu could yet stay on Merseyside.
“I think he was taken out of context. The interview was on Catalan radio and the question was ‘Would you like to play one day for the Barcelona first team?' The answer is going to be, as a Barcelona player who has been there since he was eight, yes because that’s his focus and wish for the future,” Martinez said.
“But the interview does not imply he definitely will not remain here next season. He never said he’s not enjoying his time at Everton. He has loved the test in the Premier League and being with us. We all share the view that nobody will be prouder than every Everton fan, and person connected with Everton, to see Gerard Deulofeu’s career has improved here," added Martinez.
“We’ve benefited from having his talents with us. Our agreement with Barcelona was to have him for one season though and that’s where we are," he concluded.
One player heading back to Goodison Park is midfielder John Lundstram, who has been gaining first-team experience in the Championship with Yeovil Town. The 20-year-old has been recalled from his loan spell at Huish Park, and could now join up with the first team, as Martinez will look to blood some of his youngsters towards the end of the season in order to figure out who will be a part of the future plans.
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