Martinez's Everton ready to make statement at Man Utd

Tue Dec 3, 2013 5:48am EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Roberto Martinez's appointment as manager of Everton was almost overlooked amidst the fall-out of the club's former boss David Moyes moving to Manchester United to replace Alex Ferguson.

Yet Everton travel to Old Trafford on Wednesday above them in the league and playing with a style and confidence which suggests they are realistic top-four contenders.

When the new Premier League season kicked off in August all eyes were on Moyes as he began the almost impossible task of succeeding Britain's most successful football manager.

United's 12-match unbeaten streak after a dismal start has lifted the spotlight slightly away from Moyes and it is Spaniard Martinez who is suddenly attracting attention.

His side have lost only once in 13 league matches, are only below fourth-placed Liverpool on goal difference and thrashed Stoke City 4-0 at the weekend with a performance that showed the Goodison Park club have quickly adopted Martinez's philosophy.

A positive result at United on Wednesday and it would be hard to argue against the view that of all the changes in the managerial merry-go-round in the summer, Martinez's appointment by Everton has had the greatest impact so far.

Martinez, who led Wigan Athletic to FA Cup glory last season despite relegation, says his side must now start to believe they can really mix it with the big boys.

BIG GROUNDS   Continued...

Everton's manager Roberto Martinez (L) gestures as his Stoke City counterpart Mark Hughes looks on during their English Premier League soccer match at Goodison Park in Liverpool, northern England November 30, 2013. REUTERS/Phil Noble