Martinez eyes domestic lift

They have scored??just once in their last four league games but matched that total in their 4-1 Europa League away victory over Young Boys on Thursday night.

Martinez’s men languish in 12th – on 27 points after just six wins -in the league ahead of rock-bottom Foxes’ trip to Goodison Park, but returned from the last-32 first leg victory in Switzerland in good heart after a resounding triumph.

The Spaniard said: “I think it shows in Europe this season we’ve been perfect. And when I say perfect, we’ve been enjoying our football.

“I think we’ve produced some exciting, attacking play. We’ve been brave. I think we’ve showed an incredible character and it’s helped young players to learn a lot very quickly, and it’s helped the experienced players to show us the
direction.

“It highlights that we need to take that into our domestic form. This season, because of very small margins, we haven’t been able to get a real momentum, which allows you to have a real enjoyment in the games you go into.

“That’s what we’re going to use. I do feel we’ve been very confident in our play in the last few games. Probably Thursday’s result will be the final push to really enjoy our football in every game in the league from now until the end of the season, and that’s a really important target of ours.”

The one black mark from the game in Bern was a red card for defender John Stones, who was penalised for pulling back Guillaume Hoarau in front of goal.

Everton were 4-1 up at the time and Young Boys could not punish Stones’ error, with Hoarau missing the penalty.

Martinez refused to see the 20-year-old’s dismissal as a negative, adding: “It has affected him, but in a positive manner. I think he’ll become a better player because of that.

“When you talk about the experiences in Europe, in big games, the young players benefit from it. Clearly John will do that. In a game where you’re going to be in a hostile environment, you need to be very clear in your decisions.

“The reaction from the team was phenomenal with 10 men and the sending off didn’t affect the scoreline. Obviously John has got a lot to thank his team-mates for, but in the same manner John has become a better player because of that.”

Martinez expects to have left-back Leighton Baines available for Sunday’s clash with Leicester after three games out with a minor knee problem.

He is likely to replace Bryan Oviedo, who felt his hamstring against the Swiss, but Scotland midfielder Steven Naismith should recover from a knock.

On-loan winger Aaron Lennon, cup-tied in the Europa League, returns but midfielder Gareth Barry is suspended and winger Aiden McGeady and midfielders Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar are all set to miss out.

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