Roberto Martinez says this may have had impact in Everton defeat, bemoans bad timing

The Toffees manager says some of his players may have been distracted in their 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has told reporters, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo, that the 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal on Sunday may have been impacted by the distraction of the upcoming international break.

The Toffees conceded twice in the first half against the Gunners to halt their recent good form of six wins from seven matches in all competitions and consign them to a seventh home Premier League defeat of the season.

They must now wait two weeks to play again competitively due to an international break which sees North and South American countries face World Cup 2018 qualifiers, but European nations play non-competitive friendly matches.

The Toffees will lose Costa Rican left-back Bryan Oviedo and Argentine defender Ramiro Funes Mori over the break, whilst players such as Romelu Lukaku, English duo John Stones and Ross Barkley, and Irish pair James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman will also be in action.

Martinez believes that the distraction of international action may have affected his players on Sunday and bemoaned the timing of the break, saying it was something which "many of us could do without".

He told reporters, as quoted by the Echo: "Could it be the distraction of going away? Maybe for one or two players, maybe they were getting trips ready or concentrating on their national teams. But I just don’t think that should have had a say in the performance individually or as a team.

"I know that Argentina, Costa Rica and USA have World Cup qualifiers and you can understand it. But I think it’s an international break that many, many of us could do without.

"I just feel that after Saturday we wanted to be in and we wanted to work and we wanted to prepare the next game. [But] you have to work with what is given, and now it’s a break and we have to make sure we will regroup in 10 days’ time and prepare for the Manchester United game."

Everton are in severe danger of finishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table for a second season in a row after ending up in the top half in each of the eight campaigns before last season.

Ahead of their clash with United in two weeks' time, the Toffees are 12 points off a guaranteed Europa League place, albeit with a game in hand over most of their rivals.

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