Under-fire Everton boss Roberto Martinez has denied that he is feeling more pressure than ever before at Everton.
Martinez has has come under increased scrutiny over the past few weeks after defeats to West Ham, Arsenal and Manchester United have left the club in 14th place in the Premier League, albeit with games in hand over those above them.
Everton face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Wednesday night in one of those games in hand and after the fans protested in the weekend’s draw at Watford the Everton fans are again expected to make their opinions on Martinez known.
One banner at Vicarage Road on Saturday called for Martinez to leave, while another one backed Leighton Baines after Martinez’s public criticism of the full-back.
But the 42-year-old, who has been at Goodison almost three years, denies the present has been any different to the past.
“I wouldn’t say that [I’m feeling more pressure], as a manager you understand it’s always the pressure you put on yourself,” said Martinez.
“With the scrutiny of the outside or not, you always follow an intense demanding way of working, that in the last seven years of working in the Premier League, I would say it has always been the same. I will never stop doing that.
“Sometimes there is a better momentum in the outside, more scrutiny, more important moments – that’s something you cannot control.
“As a manager you always concentrate on what you can affect, and that is why it is such a significant period for us because we can affect many things from now until the end of the season.”
Footage has emerged of Martinez involved in a discussion with a supporter at Monday night’s under-21s victory over Chelsea at Southport, although it is only a video and nothing of the conversation can be heard.
The Toffees boss said he welcomes dialogue with fans, although he dismissed any suggestion the exchange was anything other than friendly.
“It is not a confrontation. I always want to know what the fans feel, and I always respect a fan who supports our club who has a genuine interest in the club,” he added.
“I have enormous respect for people who share passion for the club – Evertonians have been through a lot but now is my third season here and I understand and share their frustrations.
“We will never look away from a fan’s opinion – if I have an opportunity to share a few moments with a fan, I will always do that as it is important to know how fans feel.
“I have no problems with the passion the fans have towards the team and the club, because that is the strength we have as a club and we will do everything we can to make them proud.
“I can understand the frustration. I can understand that in our football club we all share an incredible amount of passion.
“We are as disappointed as the fans are. We need to be close together to use each other’s strength.
“The only thing that matters to us is to make sure we finish the season really strong and get high up the table.”
Martinez admits Everton have been their own worst enemies this season, losing a number of matches they should have won.
“There is not such a thing as blame,” he said.
“We put a lot of work into assembling this squad which breeds excitement and incredible potential but the reality is we have been really good in certain aspects and really poor in others.
“We have thrown really good positions away. Clearly we need to get better.
“We are in a significant moment of the season. There is no time to look back but just be as good as we can in the next game.”
Everton will be without captain Phil Jagielka for the next two matches with a hamstring injury but the defender has not yet been ruled out of their Wembley semi-final on April 23.
“I think it is too early to make that assessment,” Martinez said. “Phil is always a quick healer and we will have a better idea on Monday or Tuesday next week.”