One reason that Everton have done so poorly in the Premier League this season, after they finished 5th top in Roberto Martinez’ first season in charge – is that they are in the Europa League.
Roberto Martinez – going all out in Europa League
In fact they are the last English club left in the Europa league and tonight is the first leg at home to Ukrainian club Dynamo Kiev in the round of the last 16.
When Newcastle competed in the Europa League two years ago we struggled in the league and fought against relegation – much like Everton seem to be doing this season.
But the Everton manager has said that they set their squad up for this season with the intention of being able to compete in both the Premier League and the Europa League, but you couldn’t accuse Newcastle of doing that.
In the summer 2012, after we finished 5th and qualified for the Europa League, we brought in one new senior player – Vurnon Anita – and our squad was devastated by the 14 extra games we played in the Europa League.
We were beaten at the first hurdle of both the League Cup and the FA Cup in that season so we played 54 games in all compared to the 43 games we will play this season.
Roberto Martinez has said he intends to play a strong side tonight:
“You can’t underestimate the amount of work and effort that has gone into this competition at the club over the last 18 months. One competition shouldn’t get in the way of the other.”
“When we built the squad at the start of the season it was with playing in Europe in mind. That hasn’t changed. We have a strong enough squad to face the two competitions.”
“We have to start winning straight away in the league.” “In the final third of the season every point is vital.” “The position we are in is not good enough and I’m not hiding from it, but that is Sunday.”
“We are the only English team left and there must be a reason for that. You don’t get this opportunity often.”
Newcastle did very well in the Europa League and we reached the quarter-finals of the competition before being narrowly eliminated by losing finalists Benfica, but we suffered in the league.
Everton have 28 points from 28 games and at the same stage of the season two years ago we had 30 points from 28 games and ended up in 16th place on a measly 41 points.
But we still finished above Sunderland.
With Everton playing a strong side tonight, Newcastle must have a decent chance of getting a good result on Sunday – assuming we have somebody who can score a goal in Papiss Cisse’s absence.
Don’t be surprised if Everton have another good season in the Premier League next year when they will not be in the Europa League – unless they win it this season!
Then they will participate in the UEFA Super Cup and also be in the Champions League next season.
What do you think?
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