Martinez making all the right noises

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

Doubts lingered over the appointment of Roberto Martinez, the relegation at Wigan threatening to become the proverbial millstone around his neck. Yet slowly but surely, the refined Spaniard is convincing the doubters. Several early comments strengthened his case: "I wanted a new challenge. It became clear that the only club I would fit in at was Everton. That wasn't a choice, it was a feeling".

The young pretender to the methodical predecessor, Martinez is overseeing a shifting of the tide around Goodison Park. David Moyes gave 11 years to the club with supporters grateful for the work carried out, but the next Manchester United manager appeared a glass half-empty type at the best of times.

There appears little danger of that under Martinez and the positive approach is a refreshing change of pace. Though unwillingly put on the spot, Bill Kenwright allowing his crowd-pleasing needs to overwhelm him, the first day on the job saw objectives switch toward Champions League football.

"The aim should be Champions League football. That doesn't mean next season but that has to be the aim for the future," Martinez said. Evidently, this target will not happen overnight; nevertheless, the idea represents a significant alteration from the safety-first rhetoric adopted by Moyes.

The ambition is clear, the hunger to succeed obvious; this is a manager intent on taking Everton to the next level. Immediately setting his sights on the money-spinning Champions League, the positive approach did not stop there; the former Wigan boss has confidently discussed several key areas.

Addressing the persistent rumours attached to Marouane Fellaini, Martinez quashed talk of the player being unsettled: "I don’t think it is an issue. You are not talking about a player who is out of the squad or in negotiations with another club".

Even though a substantial bid is likely to see the Belgian depart, such a predicament does not warrant needless attention at this stage. As Martinez pointed out, the player should begin to plan for the season ahead. "What I want is him to be ready for the next season, to be ready to take an important role at the club and understand that it is a big season for him."

Unfortunately, for Everton, the Fellaini release clause makes for a situation beyond their control. That said, this problem does not exist for the other player constantly linked with an exit, Leighton Baines, and Martinez is intent on rewarding the full back with a new deal.

Speaking to EvertonTV, Martinez said, "For Leighton, as the top performer he has been in the last few years, it is important that we reward his work and make sure that he can look forward to kicking on and go into the next chapter of his career with Everton."

Keen to improve the squad rather than dismantle it, Martinez has a specific type of player in mind: "We need to make sure that we bring the right characters as well as the right players to the football club.

"It's not going to be the case of bringing anyone at any time. We must make sure they are a type of footballer who will fit in with the train of thought at Everton. It's more a matter of finding the right players and that will take a little bit of time."

Music to supporters’ ears, the latest comments tie in with the positive environment that Martinez is trying to create. The new boss spoke on his recent FA Cup triumph and how it affects his future: "Once you win silverware, it is an addictive feeling. I do feel that that is something we want to continue here."

"At Everton, with the significance, tradition and history, it [winning silverware] needs to be part of our DNA. We all know how difficult it is to win silverware but it is important to start setting those goals as dreams."

The overuse of 'phenomenal' borders on comedic, yet the Martinez approach is one of ambition. There is an apparent desire to develop as a manager, which in turn will help to improve the team. As preparations build, the start of preseason nearing, the opening day on the horizon, Everton will be led to Carrow Road on Aug. 17 by a manager making all the right noises.

ESPN Conversations