Roberto Martinez has challenged his Everton players to carry on making Goodison Park the Premier League’s greatest fortress.
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Everton are the only top-flight team not to have lost a home league match in 2013, maintaining that record with a 0-0 draw against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The only visiting manager to have won at Goodison during this calendar year is Martinez, who was in charge of Wigan when they secured a 3-0 FA Cup quarter-final victory in March.
Since replacing David Moyes as Everton’s boss in June, Martinez has guided them to three wins and two draws from five home league games, a run that included a 1-0 victory over title contenders Chelsea on Sept. 14, and he believes that the Goodison factor can help Everton maintain a start that has carried them to seventh place -- just one point behind Chelsea in second.
Martinez told the Liverpool Echo: “I was looking at our run at Goodison Park for a long, long time. We expect to get wins and we expect to get positive results. That’s what I want.
“I want to encourage that. We need to have those expectations. Increased expectations are good for us. We all know there is something special in that dressing room, and I do feel that it is evolving into something special.
“All we want to do is fulfil our potential as quickly as we can and make sure that we can get into a position where, in February or March, we can look at the competition and see where we are.
“At the moment, the attitude of the players, the competition that we have and the way they work on a daily basis is giving me an incredible feeling that we have got something special in the dressing room.”
Everton’s next home game is the Merseyside derby against Liverpool on Nov. 23, but before then comes a trip to managerless Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Midfielder James McCarthy will walk a disciplinary tightrope at Selhurst Park, having collected four bookings this season. A fifth against Palace would bring a one-match suspension, forcing him to miss the derby.