All the latest news, views and transfer rumours from Goodison Park...
The curtain will fall on Everton's outstanding season this Sunday, as the Toffees travel to face Hull City in the final game of the campaign. With fifth place all but guaranteed, it's been a superb first season on Merseyside for manager Roberto Martinez, but the Spaniard isn't resting on his laurels and says planning for next season begins as soon as the final whistle sounds this weekend.
“As soon as we finish the final game we start work, as we did last season, to try to build a stronger squad,” said Martinez. "We have to make sure we have more numbers than last season. We don’t want to use the excuse of European football or any domestic competition affecting our league campaign."
“If we say that, it is because we haven’t assembled a strong enough squad at the beginning of the season. We are at a point where we want to embrace Europe. We want to finish fifth. We need to finish against Hull City showing good standards. And I do feel that the competitive edge in European football will help the team to develop – and as a football club it will help us to be as good as we can," added the former Wigan boss.
Martinez has made an incredible impact with the club since his summer move from the Latics, and right back Seamus Coleman has been one of the players to benefit the most from the Spaniard's influence, and Irish international Coleman moved to praise his manager today.
“It’s the way he likes us to train – he wants us to pick up positions and study the game for areas where we can benefit against other teams. I‘m forever learning under him and I’m looking forward to more. The manager has given me a lot of confidence to push forward," Coleman said.
Meanwhile, Martinez's plans for the summer will have no doubt already begun, and the confusion surrounding the future of midfielder Gareth Barry will be cause for concern. The Manchester City star is currently on loan at Goodison Park, and Martinez is seemingly already looking at alternatives, with West Bromwich Albion midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu now linked with a move to the club at the end of the season.