Martinez: Respect Moyes after match
LIVERPOOL -- Roberto Martinez believes David Moyes deserves respect from Everton’s fans on his return to Goodison Park -- but still wants them to create a hostile atmosphere for him.
Moyes will make his first return to the club he left in the summer when he brings his Manchester United team to Merseyside in the Premier League on Sunday.
He is expected to get a mixed reception, despite leading the club to nine top-eight Premier League finishes during his 11 years at Goodison.
The manner of Moyes’ initial bid to sign midfielder Marouane Fellaini and left-back Leighton Baines last summer angered Everton, who described a combined offer of 28 million pounds for both players last August as “derisory and insulting”.
United eventually signed Fellaini alone for 27 million pounds, while Baines stayed put and agreed a contract extension in January.
Everton go into Sunday’s game with hopes still strong of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, despite dropping below Arsenal into fifth place in midweek.
United, by contrast, will see their chances of qualifying for the competition disappear mathematically this weekend if they lose and the Gunners win at Hull.
Martinez is full of praise for the work Moyes -- who also has former Everton captain Phil Neville on his coaching staff -- did at Goodison Park, but does not want the fans to make him feel too welcome on Sunday.
He said: “We are a club full of integrity and style, and we are a proper football club, so we will show the respect to David Moyes and what he’s done for the club.
“His work has been terrific. He’s the Manchester United manager now and I’m sure that reception will be very much different.
“But every Evertonian will have great memories of the job he did here.
“Remember that this is probably the most important game of the season. That’s the only thing we’re focused on.
“The roles that Marouane Fellaini, Phil Neville and David Moyes played, they are well-known figures at Everton and will always be respected, but they will be respected after the final whistle.
“Now they are representing Manchester United, and so it cannot be a nice atmosphere.
“We all know how important the game is, how vital the three points are, so the focus is very much on ourselves, on what we want to do, and all the nice welcoming will be after the final whistle.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem to get the right balance. We’ve got a real understanding of the people who are coming back, but they’re representing another club, and so you don’t expect it to be too nice or friendly an atmosphere for them.”
Moyes has had a difficult first season since taking over from the retiring Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of the defending champions last July.
United lie seventh in the Premier League, 10 points outside a Champions League spot with five matches to play.
But Martinez is convinced that Moyes will make the club title contenders again next season.
He said: “Look at their history, their finances and their expectations. Manchester United will finish the season strongly, there’s no doubt about that.
“In their next few games, I’m sure they’re going to fight for a European place and try to finish as high as they can.
“Even at this stage, they should be fighting for fourth place. It’s ingrained in the DNA of Manchester United.
“There’s no real doubt that they will be doing that, and they will be challenging for the title next season.”