• Premier League

Martinez refuses to give up on top four

ESPN staff
April 26, 2014
Roberto Martinez: "From our point of view it doesn't change at all" © Getty Images

Everton boss Roberto Martinez is refusing to give up on his side's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League following their 2-0 defeat at Southampton.

Martinez's side could have moved above Arsenal into fourth spot with victory at St Mary's, but calamitous own goals from Antolin Alcaraz and Seamus Coleman gifted Southampton all three points.

With just two games remaining, Everton sit a point behind Arsenal, who play Newcastle on Monday.

"Not at all, from our point of view it doesn't change at all," Martinez told BT Sport. "We have had eight wins in 10 games, that's a phenomenal return and allows us to go into the next two games trying to get maximum points.

"We are working towards the biggest points tally that we can get and at the end of the season, we will see where that takes us.

"You cannot underestimate the good run that the team has been in. Today was a real setback, but we'll learn from this. We're still a very young group, the amount of changes we had to make made it extra difficult today, but we'll be ready for next Saturday."

Everton's backline was largely makeshift, with first choice centre-halves Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin unavailable and Martinez admitted his side couldn't respond to the early setbacks they suffered.

"I think it's quite clear the two goals we gave away were very, very rare to see in a game. From that point on, we got a affected a little bit. We got a bit frustrated, we weren't our normal selves," Martinez added.

"We were unfortunate today in the way we conceded the goals. After that we came a little bit stronger in the second half, but we never had that confident look that we normally have to get that goal that would have been a good opportunity to get back into the game.

"Everything that could have gone wrong defensively, it did, and it was very difficult from that point on."

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