Roberto Martinez has called on Everton to replicate their performance from the second half of the FA Cup semi-final loss ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with AFC Bournemouth.
Everton trailed 1-0 to Manchester United at half-time at Wembley last week but were much improved in the second 45 minutes, Chris Smalling’s own-goal levelling matters after Romelu Lukaku had missed a chance to equalise from the penalty spot.
The Merseyside club missed a host of chances to win the game and were undone in stoppage time as Anthony Martial sealed a 2-1 win for United.
That performance has done little to ease the pressure on Martinez, who has faced calls to be removed from his position from supporters after a disappointing campaign, with more fan protests reportedly planned for this weekend.
Everton are 11th in the league having gone their last seven league games without a win. A 3-1 success at Aston Villa on March 1 was their last league triumph.
Not since 1999 have Everton gone eight without a win in the Premier League and Martinez believes reproducing their semi-final showing is key to avoiding more disappointment against Eddie Howe’s men.
He told a media conference: “Any player that represents Everton has to reach a level that we showed in the second half in the semi-final, it’s not good just to go through the motions or expect that you’re going to have the opportunity to represent Everton for the rest of your career.
“As a player, whoever is on the pitch, needs to reach a level of intensity, responsibility of drive of quality that we showed in the second half and that’s going to be the case in the next four games.
“As a team we need to show that sort of level in every single minute we play from now until the end of the season.”
Everton are without Gareth Barry because of a knock he sustained in the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool eight days ago, Seamus Coleman and Phil Jagielka (both hamstring) are out and Ramiro Funes Mori is banned.
For Bournemouth Harry Arter has an Achilles problem and Adam Smith has missed the last three games with a hernia. Max Gradel (leg) is also a doubt.
With safety all but secured having passed the 40-point mark, Bournemouth’s Andrew Surman is keen for the south-coast club to finish a successful campaign strongly, starting with three points that would take them above Everton.
“The main thing is to take a bit of momentum into next season,” Surman told The Daily Echo.
“We feel we’ve done enough to be safe but don’t want the season to fizzle out. We want to finish strongly and carry that on.”
Key Opta Stats:
– Everton have never lost against AFC Bournemouth in the five matches they have played in all competitions (winning four).
– Romelu Lukaku has gone five Premier League appearances without a goal – he has not gone six in a row without a goal since January 2015 (eight in a row).
– Bournemouth side have lost just one of their last seven Premier League away matches (winning three and drawing three of the other six).
– Eddie Howe’s side mustered 10 shots on target against Everton back in November, the most they have managed in a single Premier League match.