Football

Martinez wants end to trophy wait

POT LUCK: Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes they are not far away from bagging silverware.

It is more than 20 years since Everton last won a trophy.

But Roberto Martinez has a chance to change that as his side prepare for tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) League Cup semi-final, first-leg clash against Manchester City.

The FA Cup in 1995 was the last addition to the trophy cabinet at Goodison Park, which during the 1980s had also been home to two league titles and a further FA Cup success in 1984.

That was also the year Everton lost in the League Cup final, going down 1-0 to Liverpool in a replay.

Only once before, seven years previously, had Everton reached the League Cup final, but now they are just two legs of a semi-final against City away from going back to Wembley to face either Liverpool or Stoke City.

Martinez's side have reached the last four of the competition for the first time since 2008 and the Everton manager is determined to end the trophy drought.

RIGHT TRACK

"I think we are on the right track in having a team that excite us," Martinez said. "I truly believe we are not far away from bringing glory into our football club.

"That's something we want more than anything, to be able to give our fans a taste of becoming a winning team once again."

Everton are currently 11th in the Premier League after drawing 1-1 at home to Tottenham last Sunday.

That position does not perhaps reflect the talent Martinez has in his squad in the shape of England defenders John Stones and Leighton Baines, Ross Barkley in midfield and 18-goal top scorer Romelu Lukaku in attack.

City, who won the League Cup and the Premier League in 2014, will start as favourites and, having won at Watford last Saturday, will have had an extra day's rest ahead of the first leg on Merseyside.

But, despite failing to win at Goodison Park since November, Baines is hoping to make home advantage count ahead of the return leg at Eastlands on Jan 27.

"It's a great place to play in games like that and it's one to look forward to. It's a really exciting game for us to be involved in," Baines said.

"It's a busy time for us and so we have to do everything right on the pitch as well, in terms of recovery and preparation to make sure we leave no stone unturned and give it everything in order to try and make it to the final."

City head to Goodison lifted by their first away win in the Premier League since September as they look to reach the final at Wembley on Feb 28.

Manuel Pellegrini's side are still chasing a possible Quadruple in the League Cup, Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup, with their campaign in the last competition due to start at Norwich on Saturday.

But, despite the hectic schedule lying in wait, Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho, who has started all but two of City's games this season, insists he doesn't need a rest.

"My body works best when I'm playing all the time, so when I work more and I play more, I feel better," he said.

"My target is to win the Premier League, the cup competitions and see how far we can go in Europe.

"I can rest at the end of the season and enjoy time with my family. That's when I'll recharge my batteries, not before." - AFP.

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