Everton boss Roberto Martinez has once again stated that he should only be judged at the end of the season.
Martinez has faced, and rejected, accusations this term his side are underachieving.
But last weekend’s 3-2 home loss to West Ham appeared only to add further validity to such criticism of the Toffees, who are 12th with 10 games left in the Barclays Premier League and were beaten in the Capital One Cup semi-finals.
Ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea at Goodison Park, Martinez was asked once more for his thoughts on suggestions Everton should be doing better than they are given the talent in their squad.
And he replied by repeating an assertion he made earlier in the campaign, saying: “I think when you want to assess what you have done in a season, you have to wait until the end of it.
“At that point, you can look into very specific details – how you have been on the ball, your attacking work, what you have done defensively, what you have done away from home, what you have done at home.
“You can go into every single detail – nowadays everything gets recorded and the stats are there.
“But, clearly, if you want to assess any season, you have to wait until the end.”
Many may argue Everton’s season will be as good as over this weekend if they lose – as they have done in three of their last four home games, and in seven home league matches overall this season.
Martinez acknowledged before the West Ham defeat that the Toffees’ results on their own turf have not been good enough.
But he has also spoken in a confident manner about the prospect of his side – who it is expected will be watched from the stands by the club’s new investor Farhad Moshiri – rising to the occasion on Saturday.
“The squad has always reacted with bravery and responsibility,” Martinez said.
“We are looking to make sure we embrace being in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
“We have already been to the semi-finals of the League Cup, which I think gives us the inspiration to be able to perform well at this sort of stage of a competition.”
Everton did record a home victory in September against a Chelsea side who have had a troubled campaign themselves.
Since that last visit to Goodison Park the London club have changed managers, with Jose Mourinho being replaced by Guus Hiddink – the man who guided them to an FA Cup final victory over Everton in 2009.
Hiddink has helped revive Chelsea this season, although they did suffer the second defeat of his current tenure on Wednesday when a reverse against Paris St Germain sent them out of the Champions League.
Martinez said: “It depends how you want to look at it – if you are being pessimistic (from Everton’s point of view), you’ll say Chelsea will now be focusing on the FA Cup.
“If you are being optimistic, you’ll say maybe they won’t have a feel-good factor after Wednesday’s result.
“The reality is they are an outstanding team and we all know what they have achieved since Guus Hiddink has come back.
“I think we are both looking forward to this footballing occasion and we know it’s a very important opportunity for both clubs.”