Martinez positive despite stalemate

LONDON • Even as his future at Everton remains in doubt, Toffees manager Roberto Martinez claimed that his side's 0-0 Premier League draw at Crystal Palace on Wednesday has come at the right time.

With Everton set to face Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals next Saturday, the Spaniard was pleased that his 10-man team dug out a result at Selhurst Park.

"That resilience we had to show," said Martinez, who saw midfielder James McCarthy sent off seven minutes into the second half.

"I'm very pleased to keep a clean sheet and to manage the game in that way is perfect timing. It's great to see we're learning from our hard lessons. It all matters in the final weeks of the campaign. We've lost too many points late on. It's now you want to hit your top level."

Jason Puncheon was the first Palace player to test Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles, who had a fine match. At the other end, Palace 'keeper Wayne Hennessey saved well from Seamus Coleman and Romelu Lukaku.

The point took Everton to 40 - two points ahead of Palace - and 12th on the table. With the Merseyside club underachieving in the league, Martinez has been under pressure.

A tweet from respected television commentator Ian Darke said there were "persistent Merseyside rumours" linking United States manager Juergen Klinsmann to Everton. But Klinsmann denied reports suggesting he was being lined up to replace Martinez.

"Rumours are wrong! Not going anywhere and Everton FC has a fantastic manager in Roberto Martinez!" he wrote on Twitter.

Klinsmann's position as US manager has also come under scrutiny in recent months following a series of disappointing results, most notably in the Concacaf Gold Cup last year.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2016, with the headline 'Martinez positive despite stalemate'. Print Edition | Subscribe