Martinez: The best is yet to come

Everton manager Roberto Martinez is not ready to talk about his side's hopes of a top-four finish, but has warned their rivals they have yet to hit top form.

Roberto Martinez; Kevin Mirallas

Sunday's 2-1 win at Swansea, courtesy of superb strikes from Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley, moved the Toffees into the top four in the Barclays Premier League table.

Everton have lost just once in their first 17 league games, to Manchester City at Etihad Stadium, and are unbeaten in 10 matches.

Hopes are high among the Goodison Park faithful that the Merseyside club could qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2005.

Martinez is happy to play down expectations, but has no doubt there is plenty more to come from his men.

"It would be a mistake for us to talk about the end of the season in December. All we want to do is fulfil our potential," said the Spaniard.

"I still don't think we have fulfilled our maximum and we will focus on important games coming up in a short period of time.

"You need to get as many points as you can until April. Then you have nine or 10 games left and then it's realistic to speak about what sort of aims you can fight for.

"We've only had one defeat in 17 games, we got an important win versus Chelsea, we beat Man Utd, we drew against Arsenal and lost against Manchester City so it's an open competition, but it's pointless to look at the table."

The goal, and another fine individual performance, will ensure 20-year-old Barkley will again be in the headlines after a string of excellent recent displays, and it is hard to see how Roy Hodgson can leave him out of England's World Cup squad.

And Martinez was left to heap more praise on his midfield starlet.

"Ross is growing game by game. He is showing different aspects of his play, he is a quite incredible diamond of English football," said the Everton manager.

"The winning goal, technically, is as good as it gets. A lot has been said about Ross, but it's always an understatement.

"He's an incredible listener and young man with a lot of potential. He always comes up with something different in a game to show he can develop.

"I'm proud of seeing him grow."

Swansea had equalised when Bryan Oviedo diverted a Dwight Tiendalli effort beyond Tim Howard, but it was a familiar tale for the hosts as they produced some excellent build-up work without an end product.

And they face an anxious wait to discover when Michu, who was absent against the Toffees, will have to undergo surgery on a long-standing problem with his right ankle.

"We will know more tomorrow (on Monday)," said Laudrup. "He may have a chance for Boxing Day but we will see, we will have a final opinion from an expert and then decide.

"If the information suggests he needs an operation he will have surgery in the very near future.

"Obviously we are not happy he could be out for several weeks, but the most disappointed person is Michu.

"If it is bad news, added to what happened to Nathan Dyer last week, we will have to think about what to do in January."



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