Martinez sets sights on Champions League

Roberto Martinez says Everton must become a Champions League club, as he also revealed they may have the option to keep on-loan Gerard Deulofeu for longer than just this season.

The Barcelona attacker scored the late equaliser in the Goodison Park side’s impressive 1-1 draw with Arsenal, which left them fifth in the table and just two points off the top, further underlining their credentials following the midweek 1-0 win away to Manchester United.

It left Martinez speaking ambitiously afterwards, having recovered from Mesut Ozil’s 80th-minute opening goal.

“Everton with its history and tradition of nine titles in the past should be looking to be in the Champions League. There are no excuses about lack of funds and not working in budget like the other top six teams.

“It will take time and we need to be very creative but, long-term, Everton should be in the Champions League. Maybe this season will be too early but that has to be our ultimate aim.

“The last two games have given us a great step forward because I felt we had a bit of a mental block away to the teams fighting to win the title.”

Martinez also stated that Everton could keep the excellent Deulofeu for another year. Although the 20-year-old is in principle expected to return to Barcelona at the end of the season, there is an agreement for him to potentially stay at Goodison Park if the Spanish club feel his development would be better served by playing more there.

“There is an opportunity,” Martinez said. “We have agreement that it could be extended an extra year as long as the parent club don’t need him back.”

Arsene Wenger, however, argued that Romelu Lukaku may have been offside for Everton’s equaliser.

“I think he was offside and he made a foul on the goal, but the referee didn’t give it.


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