Everton manager Roberto Martinez is not underestimating the importance of the next week to his club’s fans.
Martinez’s Everton take on local rivals Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday, before facing off against Manchester United in a FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
And Martinez, who is under increasing pressure at Everton as fans question his suitability for the role amid an underwhelming Premier League season, said he knows what is at stake.
“Every team has a defining week,” he said.
“We are going to have our defining week in mid-April. Other teams have defining weeks in February when they are out of the FA Cup.”
Everton remain outside the top half of the Premier League ahead of their crunch clash with eighth-placed Liverpool but could move back into the top 10 with a win after Chelsea’s 3-0 loss to Manchester City.
But Martinez will have to balance his squad’s output with his ambition to knock off United in the FA Cup.
And while the chance of silverware in the FA Cup is tempting, Martinez will not rest players for the midweek derby.
“We are going to be as strong as we can be,” he confirmed.
“I don’t think you can switch on and off. You have to perform well before you go to a semi-final, create a competitive nature in every game.
“We will get that from players coming back from suspension and injury.
“I always say football is not about managers. As a manager my job is to allow my players to enjoy their football and enjoy the opportunity we have in front of us and be as good as we can be. Then we will see where that takes us.”
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