Roberto Martinez tells Goals on Sunday Everton believe they can compete with best
Roberto Martinez says his Everton side believe they can compete with the best in the Premier League.
Last Updated: 13/04/14 1:25pm
The Spaniard steered his side into the top four on Saturday with a 1-0 win at Sunderland, over-taking Arsenal in the race for the final Champions League qualifying place.
However, Martinez - who has seen his side win seven on the spin - told Goals on Sunday Everton's development has been a gradual process throughout the campaign, building on the strong structures established at the club by previous boss David Moyes - and now they have the momentum to achieve a top four finish.
"I've been very fortunate, walking into a football club like Everton, with the history and the heritage that we have at the club," he said.
"David Moyes, for 11 years, did a terrific job and for a manager to walk into such a strong structure and have everything in its department has been a real help.
"We've got a really strong dressing room - the senior figures have been phenomenal - and then we've got 10 new players that adapted quickly into the way of working at Everton. Its clicked into place but it had to be a patient approach and the support of the fans was vital, especially in the first few weeks when it was a big transition and change.
"When you look at the league, you have to prepare for the first two thirds, to be as strong as you can be in the final third. We are now carrying momentum and seven straight wins allows you to be very confident about whatever games are in front of us."
Martinez picked out his side's 3-0 win at home to Arsenal and 1-0 triumph at Manchester United as key results in their season.
He says those wins have boosted confidence at the club.
"More than anything [beating Arsenal 3-0 at Goodison] is about the psychological element," he explained.
"When you play against the so-called top four, being able to have that arrogance and belief you can play eye-to-eye and get a good result that is something we've been overcoming this season.
"We went to Old Trafford and got our first win there in 21 years. We've been growing, in terms of the development of belief, which goes in hand with the talent the squad has, which is immense, and that's why I say the senior figures have been special, open-minded and looking forward to trying things in a different way and giving direction to the young talent."
Everton's mission to finish in the top four is not complete yet, though.
The Goodison Park outfit currently sit two points clear of Arsenal but must come through stiff tests at home to Manchester United and Manchester City during their final five games of the season.
Martinez is well aware Everton still have plenty to do to qualify for Europe's elite club competition but is excited by the challenges ahead.
"We've got three games at home and at Goodison our form has been very good but we're going to be heavily tested.
"You look at it on paper and Arsenal have go the best run-in, but the good thing about football is nothing works as it should be on paper!
"We're excited that at this stage of the season we've got enough points to fight for that position and will try to take advantage of our home fixtures - that could be the difference of achieving it or not."