Everton manager Roberto Martinez has hit back at speculation of a dressing room rift at Goodison Park.
The Spaniard has increasingly come under fire as Everton failed to make a serious challenge at the top four for the second time in as many years under Martinez.
Results aside, Martinez also drew the ire of the Goodison Park faithful for forcing Leighton Baines to apologise for comments he made about the spirit of the squad.
But the Everton boss says he is not overly concerned by the mood of the fans, instead saying they should focus on their job – supporting the team.
“If someone put a positive banner out that wouldn’t take time out of my thinking. You cannot lose time thinking of anything but how we go forward,” Martinez said.
“Maybe if it was my first season working as a manager I might have reacted in a different way, but not now.
“I understand if we don’t get wins the fans are not going to be happy. That’s very straightforward. [The abuse] that’s part of my job … the passion that they share is what drives us to be better and achieve perfection if anything.
“Obviously it is my job to set standards and to have a professional relationship with players in the best interests of the football club.
“Dressing rooms work like that.”
And Martinez says his dressing room is working just fine, despite just three wins from 12 league matches this year.
“The manager needs to make the decisions, and the players need to enjoy their job and enjoy their talent and do the things that the team needs every individual to do in order to win,” he said.
“It just isn’t the case that the relationship between the manager and players is a problem. That has never been an issue.
“Remember that we are not talking about a bad team here, or a team that doesn’t perform. We are talking about a team that performs really well away from home, yet doesn’t get the results at home.
“That doesn’t suggest the relationship between the manager and the players is wrong.”