Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes Francesco Guidolin has the pedigree to turn Swansea City’s fortunes around as he prepares to host his former club at Goodison Park.
Swansea climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Watford on Monday, with new head coach Guidolin assigned a watching brief at the Liberty Stadium.
The former Udinese boss will take charge of first-team affairs on Sunday and Martinez, who was manager at Swansea from 2007 to 2009 following a successful stint as a player at the club, believes the appointment could prove to be Huw Jenkins’ latest successful punt as chairman.
“Francesco has got a long, long career in Italian football and previously in French football,” Martinez told a news conference. “His experience is second to none.
“Maybe he wasn’t a name that was mentioned around but that’s the way Swansea City have been successful over the years – they know what they want and who they want to fit into a certain level of playing.
“I know Huw Jenkins’ decisions are always well-thought and rational, and if you look at his record he’s been quite outstanding.”
Swansea are without a win on their travels since a 2-1 win at bottom club Aston Villa in October, but Martinez found something to admire in each of their past three trips in the Premier League – 2-1 defeats to both Manchester clubs coming either side of a goalless draw at Crystal Palace.
“I think they’ve been very unlucky in their last three away games,” he said. “They lost with the last kick of the game at Manchester City, at Manchester United they were unlucky and they played well at Crystal Palace.
“When they get on the ball they are very technically gifted, so they don’t get many things wrong away from home.”
Martinez is yet to see this perceived prowess return a victory against his team on Merseyside, with Swansea having never registered a league win against Everton.
“Every time we play Everton we talk about trying to break the duck,” said midfielder Leon Britton on Swansea’s official website. “We’ve had a couple of draws up there in recent years and some half decent performances.
“We’d love to try and put an end to that and beat them in the league – but I think the main thing for us is to go there and not lose, and the win on Monday will certainly give us confidence.
“It’s hard in the Premier League to get those back-to-back wins, but if you can get two or three wins on the bounce – especially at the bottom – then you can quickly move up the table.
“It would be nice to go on a bit of a run because some of the teams around us, such as Norwich and Bournemouth, have done that in recent weeks.”
Everton trio James McCarthy (groin), Seamus Coleman and Tom Cleverley (both calf) are back in training following injury problems and Martinez will assess the trio ahead of the contest.
Guidolin and Swansea manager Alan Curtis have a fully fit squad to choose from.
Key Opta stats:
– Everton have failed to score in three of their last four meetings with Swansea in all competitions, scoring a solitary goal during the other match in thus run.
– Roberto Martinez’s side have won three of their past 13 Premier League matches at Goodison Park (D4 L6).
– Swansea have won only one of their past 11 Premier League games on the road (D3 L7).
– Everton have scored with a league-high 19.5 per cent of their shots this season.
– Kevin MIrallas has scored three goals in his past five Everton appearances in all competitions, having netted once in his previous 15.
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