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Mar 20, 2014

Howard: Martinez makes Everton brave

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard says manager Roberto Martinez has instilled a sense of fearlessness that gives his squad belief they can play their own version of "Moneyball".

Tim Howard has praised Roberto Martinez for succeeding with a modest budget.

O'Farrell: Martinez right to reward

The Toffees have consistently been among the lowest net spenders in the Premier League, yet have finished in the top eight for each of the past seven years -- and are set to do so again this season.

Everton gained a reputation for overachieving on a low budget under previous manager David Moyes, and are continuing to do so under Martinez, who took charge last June.

Martinez marked his first transfer window at Goodison Park last summer by turning an 11 million pounds profit, thanks largely to the sales of Marouane Fellaini and Victor Anichebe.

But his side are on course to finish above a host of teams with high net spends, including Manchester United, Southampton and West Ham.

And they could even finish above Tottenham, who spent more than 100 million pounds on players last summer, but offset that with sales that included a world-record 85.4 million pounds deal with Real Madrid for Gareth Bale.

With 10 games to play, Everton lie sixth in the Premier League, three points above Manchester United -- managed by Moyes -- and two points behind Spurs.

United States international keeper Howard told ESPN FC: "We have Tottenham ahead of us -- we want to catch them and we think we can.

"It would be a huge achievement for us if we do that, as if you look at the teams we are hoping to finish above, we probably shouldn't.

"At the start of the season, I would have given us an outside chance of finishing above Manchester United, but certainly not as good a chance as we have now."

One of Martinez's achievements as Everton manager has been to instil a belief in his players that they can take points away from home against teams who are traditionally Champions League contenders.

They were within minutes of taking a point at Chelsea on Feb. 22 and did earn a draw at Arsenal on Dec. 8, four days after earning their first away win over Manchester United since 1992.

Howard said: "As always with Roberto Martinez, he doesn't really care too much about the opposition, his focus is solely on us and how we play.

"I think on that night we won at Old Trafford, we played our brand of football to perfection.

"We were resilient at the back, we kept the ball, we made them work, we used the width of the pitch which is massive and we ended up giving as good as we got.

"And on the night, I think we deserved the win."

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