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 By Mike Whalley

Martinez: Everton will do City no favours

LIVERPOOL -- Everton boss Roberto Martinez has reassured city rivals Liverpool that his team will do Manchester City no favours in the Premier League title race.

Roberto Martinez is to speak at the 25th anniversary service.
Martinez has said Everton won't be helping City out.

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Liverpool are two points clear at the top of the table with two matches left -- but third-placed City have a match in hand and can overhaul them.

Manuel Pellegrini's side visit Goodison Park on Saturday, when an Everton win would give Liverpool a huge boost in their bid for a first league title since 1990.

Toffees boss Martinez is doing his best to tread a fine diplomatic line ahead of the match, knowing that any sign of supporting the Reds in their title bid would go down badly with Everton fans.

But he said he felt Liverpool's progress this season has been good for the city because it pushes Everton to higher standards.

And even though some Evertonians would take a defeat on Saturday if it damaged their neighbours' title chances -- something defender Sylvain Distin said had surprised him -- Martinez insisted his team would give their all.

The manager said: "We're not going out on the pitch to do anyone a favour. We're going out on the pitch to make sure we perform as well as we can.

"I've always felt that the relationship between the two clubs in the city, over many years, has had some incredible chapters. This would be another fascinating chapter.

"But I don't think there's any doubt about the integrity of our club towards the league. We are a team who want to win every single game that we go into.

"We're looking at ourselves. They are precious points for us. We can't afford not to give everything we've got for every point we have left to play for.

"Helping other teams is not the way we do our work. We just focus on trying to win for ourselves, and on having high standards in every game we go into."

Fifth-placed Everton need a point to ensure qualification for next season's Europa League. Defeat would end any mathematical chance of making the Champions League, although even a win would not keep those hopes alive if Arsenal beat West Brom on Sunday.

Martinez added: "It's fair to say that we're very excited about our team and our performances. I don't think we're in a season where we're playing for nothing and just making up the numbers.

"This season has been phenomenal in terms of the way we've performed. If the game adds some spice in terms of the twists and turns in the title race, so be it.

"It's important that we are as good as we can be this weekend, because we are facing a phenomenal football team, and I think the fans understand that. That's what the fans want -- to be proud of the performance of the team."

Martinez said he felt a strong Liverpool side was a good thing for the city, explaining: "You need that rivalry to be as strong as it can be, and you need to push each other to achieve perfection in that respect.

"That's something that both clubs welcome. The city as a whole needs to have that competitive edge and fight to be the best that we can aspire to be, and both teams will benefit from those standards."


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