LONDON • Roberto Martinez insisted he does not feel under added pressure at Everton despite growing criticism and the team's regression in the Premier League.
Everton are 14th in the table ahead of today's trip to Crystal Palace following a run of three wins in 13 league games. Controversy over defender Leighton Baines' comments about a lack of chemistry in the team, plus a banner proclaiming "Martinez Out" at Watford on Saturday, have also fuelled the sense of a manager entering a critical period in his three-year reign.
To further complicate matters, Toffees captain Phil Jagielka has been ruled out of the next two games against Palace and Southampton with a hamstring injury. He could also be absent for next week's Merseyside derby at Liverpool plus the FA Cup semi-final.
Premier League points Everton have bagged at home all season. Only one club have done worse - Aston Villa.
But despite the negative feedback, and billionaire Farhad Moshiri's recent investment in Everton, Martinez claimed to be unaffected. "As a manager it is about the pressure you put on yourself," he said. "You always have to follow an intense way of working. For the last seven years in the Premier League, it's always been the same.
"Maybe there is more scrutiny from the outside but that is something you cannot control. We can affect many things from now until the end of the season. The only way to have a long-term role is to be consistent as a manager and work under the demands the position requires."
The Spaniard added that he understands the fans' frustrations.
"I have no problem with the passion our fans show for our football club," he said. "I want to know what the fans feel and I respect a fan with a genuine interest in the club. The passion every fan has, we share."
CRYSTAL PALACE V EVERTON
Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227, tomorrow, 3am