Roberto Martinez expects to face a Manchester United side riding high on confidence when Everton visit Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday.
Louis van Gaal’s men claimed a battling derby day triumph over rivals Manchester City ahead of the international break, closing to within a point of their fourth-placed neighbours as Marcus Rashford scored the only goal of the game at the Etihad Stadium.
Everton are back in 12th following an inconsistent season, but make the short trip to Manchester unbeaten in their previous eight Premier League away games.
“We all know that Manchester United control the ball really well. Their positional play is as good as anyone,” Martinez told Everton TV.
“They are very organised and I think they are in a really good moment of form. You don’t get better doses of confidence than beating your rivals in the derby as they did.
“To keep a clean sheet against Manchester City at the Etihad I think shows you the type of performance they had – well balanced.
“Then you’ve got a couple of youngsters in a good moment of form, Rashford and [Jesse] Lingard.
“We’ll have to be at our best to defend against the sort of control in possession Manchester United have. They’ve got a lot of energy
“We’ll have to be at our best in imposing ourselves in our time on the ball and making sure we use that really, really well in front of goal.”
Everton defender John Stones is available after suffering a knock on international duty with England in midweek, while Kevin Mirallas and Bryan Oviedo are back from suspension and a chest infection respectively.
United will be without Bastian Schweinsteiger after the Germany captain suffered knee ligament damage while away with his country.
Wayne Rooney is stepping up his recovery from a similar complaint but the match against his former club comes too soon for the United skipper to feature.
“It’s a big blow, ” said Van Gaal of Schweinsteiger’s setback. “He is starting his rehabilitation.
“He has more or less the same injury as Wayne. We have to see how it heals.”
Speaking to MUTV, the Dutchman added: “Rooney is doing great. He trained today [Friday] at a lower level with the ball and will probably play an under-21 match before he comes back.
“Luke Shaw (broken leg) is back on the training pitch on Monday with the physio. Ander Herrera and Ashley Young (both groin) are coming back.
“Young and Adnan Januzaj played with the reserves in a match on the Friday of the international break.”
United ran out 3-0 winners at Goodison Park earlier this season, with Herrera and Rooney on target after Morgan Schneiderlin opened the scoring.
Key Opta stats:
– After wining four of their first 40 Premier League meetings against Manchester United (D7 L29), Everton have won four of the past seven.
– United’s defence has only been breached seven times in their 14 Premier League home games this season.
– Everton have lost one of their past 14 league matches on the road (W6 D7).
– Louis van Gaal’s side are looking to record four consecutive top-flight wins at Old Trafford for the first time since April last year.
– Manchester United are on the cusp of a landmark, having scored 999 home Premier League goals.