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Martinez content to talk about Prem title

Everton boss Roberto Martinez says he is happy to talk about winning the title -- even if Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers are not.

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Mourinho has repeatedly played down his Chelsea team’s chances of winning the Premier League, despite the fact that they went top on Saturday.

And Liverpool boss Rodgers has claimed that his focus is on qualifying for the Champions League, even though they are only six points off the top after thrashing title contenders Arsenal 5-1 last weekend.

Everton go into Wednesday night’s Premier League home game against Crystal Palace lying sixth in the table, 11 points off top spot.

Last Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Tottenham was a setback to their Champions League hopes, with Martinez and his players now five points off a top-four position with 13 games left.

But the manager believes that gap can be eliminated, and is content to talk about title ambitions to anyone who wants to ask.

Martinez pointed to the dramatic finish to the title race two seasons ago, when Manchester City came back from eight points behind with six games left to overhaul neighbours United and finish top.

Asked if fourth spot was still possible for Everton, he said: “It is, yes. We’ve all seen that this league will never stop surprising us.

“A couple of years back, there was a big gap at the top of eight points cut down in a shorter period than this.

“There are many points to play for. What is really exciting is the momentum that teams are starting to build, and that’s throughout the league, not just at the top.

“Whether it’s fighting for the title, for a Champions League position, for Europe or to avoid relegation, it’s as close a fight as you’ve seen for a long time.

“That’s a credit to the league. It seems that nobody wants to win the league. Nobody wants to come out and say that they want to win the league, anyway. We’re quite happy to want to win the league!”

Martinez, meanwhile, said he was proud to have been asked to give a reading at a memorial service to be held in April to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The Everton manager will join Liverpool boss Rodgers in speaking at the event, to take place at Anfield on April 15.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died while attending an FA Cup semifinal against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium in 1989.

And Martinez, invited to speak by the Hillsborough Family Support Group, feels that the service is a powerful symbol of how the fans of Liverpool and Everton can be united in supporting their city.

He said: “I’m not sure how I can put it into words. It goes beyond the rivalry in football. It’s about what football represents in the community and everyone’s lives; it’s the passion that we have for football.

“Those are the events that bring together everyone who shares that passion for the game. The support in the city is something that goes beyond any sort of rivalry.

“It fills me with real pride. It takes me all the way through the history of the two football clubs, and figures like [former Everton manager and chairman] Will Cuff and [Liverpool’s first manager John] McKenna, and all the big moments that the two clubs have shared during their history.

“I’m very proud. It’s a proud moment.”


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