Everton ready to send message against Spurs: Martinez

Fri Nov 1, 2013 2:41pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Everton can send out a message that there is more than one team on Merseyside capable of challenging at the top of the Premier League if they beat Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Across Stanley Park, Liverpool's flying start to the season has caught the eye but Everton's, under new manager Roberto Martinez, has been only marginally less impressive.

Everton are sixth, two points behind second-placed Liverpool and four off leaders Arsenal, and their one league loss was at Manchester City where they took the lead before losing 3-1.

They have coped with the sale of midfielder Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United with ease and in Romelu Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, they boast one of the most lethal strikers in the top flight.

Martinez, who replaced Old Trafford-bound David Moyes at Goodison Park, has quickly established the eye-catching brand of passing football he ingrained at Wigan Athletic and Swansea City without sacrificing Everton's steely core.

Tottenham are one point better off in fourth spot and Martinez believes the north London club, top-five finishers for the past four seasons, can act as a benchmark for his side.

"If we can win, I'm sure it sends out a message," Spaniard Martinez, who will be without injured striker Arouna Kone, told a news conference on Friday.

"But there's also a message internally; that you gain that confidence and belief in what you are doing."

"This Spurs side can become something special but that's why we're looking forward to the challenge - because we feel that we are ready to face whatever we have got in front of us at Goodison," Martinez added.   Continued...

Everton's manager Roberto Martinez (L) instructs his team during their English Premier League soccer match against Newcastle United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, northern England, September 30, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Staples