Martinez desires Everton European exploits despite domestic hurdle
Premier League sides have continued to disregard the Europa League during the season, prioritising their domestic challenges instead, despite the huge rewards on offer for winning Europe’s second string competition.
The Europa League is evidently targeted more thoroughly by sides outside of England, with Spanish league outfit Sevilla truly reaping the benefits of their recent historical back-to-back triumphs in the competition.
However, it’s clear that a successful run in the Europe’s secondary club competition can have a negative effect on a team’s domestic form, something Everton learnt the hard way during last campaign (11/4 with Coral to finish top six).
Toffees boss Roberto Martinez impressively guided his side to an emphatic fifth-place finish in his debut season in charge, but much of the 2014/15 term was haplessly spent in the depths of the table’s bottom half.
Throughout that domestic decline, the Merseysiders were involved in a Europa League run, a burden which saw them win only two out of 16 league clashes between November 30th and March 4th.
Although, upon crashing out of the competition in the last-16 stage at the hands of Dynamo Kiev, Martinez’s men mounted a Premier League resurgence and managed to finish 11th, winning five of their last nine games.
Despite the Europa League causing such a daunting domestic decline, Martinez is keen for his Everton side to reclaim a European position this season.
“Does playing in the Europa League have an impact on the league? The answer is clearly yes,” stated the Spaniard. “But it is still our aim and one of our targets.”
The former Wigan Athletic coach claimed his men will benefit from successfully maintaining their place within the European competition with each passing season, gaining valuable experience.
“It’s different when you are playing in Europe season after season. You get that mentality and habits and into a position where you can cope with it a lot better,” continued Martinez.
“Psychologically it’s very tough. Like having to go to Russia on a Thursday and arriving back on a Friday afternoon to face Manchester United at Old Trafford for an early Sunday kick-off is a physical aspect that will affect you.
“We want to be in those situations, to be playing in Europe year after year but that is something that is becoming harder in our league as you can imagine.”
Success both domestically and in European competition can be gained, though, sensationally proven by Sevilla. The Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan outfit incredibly defended their Europa League crown last term and have managed to finish fifth in two consecutive La Liga campaigns (66/1 to win title).
Martinez will hope his Toffees side can learn from Sevilla’s recent European exploits as the Merseyside men aim to embark on a more sustainable approach to balancing both Premier League ambitions with Europa League ventures.