Everton boss Martinez wary of Sunderland threat

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has warned against assuming that Premier League strugglers Sunderland will pose little threat to his side’s Champions League aspirations, Sky Sports has reported.

The Toffees beat Arsenal in their last outing and should they win their game in hand on the Gunners, would go two points clear of Arsene Wenger’s side in fourth place. Everton play Crystal Palace on April 16 in a game re-arranged from earlier this season after adverse weather conditions forced its postponement.

Sunderland are currently bottom of the table but Martinez, who experienced a successful relegation fight while in charge of Wigan Athletic as well as an unsuccessful one, said the relegation-threatened side will be ready for the tie.

“I’ve seen it first hand,” Martinez said. “You can use those emotions in the right way and use them to your advantage. You get through the hurt of seeing that you could lose your place in the division.

“That is difficult, but then you accept that you have an opportunity to achieve your aim of staying up, and that is a significant moment. Those emotions affect the way the team plays, and Sunderland have seven games left, more than any other team in that area. It is still very much in their hands.”

The Black Cats are seven points from safety but have two games in hand on the teams directly above them, with Norwich City a place outside the bottom three.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Sunderland v Everton

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