Everton manager Roberto Martinez has dismissed claims that he is not intent on experiencing success in the Europa League, insisting that trying to win it is one of his key targets for this season, reports the Daily
The Toffee’s first European match since the 2009-10 season takes place on Thursday as they welcome German club Wolfsburg in Merseyside. Group H also comprises French high-flyers Lille and Russian club Kuban Krasnodar, and for the first time, the Europa League winners this season get automatic entry into the group stage of the 2015-16 Champions League.
The competition has often been criticised since its restructuring in 2009 for crowding the fixture list and providing a distraction to a club’s league campaign. However, Martinez believes that Everton can go a long way in it this season, and believes the Goodison Park crowd can help them this season.
He said: ‘Last year we had to work so hard for 38 games to achieve that, it would be nonsense to say we don’t want to be giving it everything we’ve got. As long as people understand that making changes to the line-up doesn’t mean you don’t care about a competition. We really want to go all the way in the Europa League.’
‘We’re excited because those teams will bring a completely different tactical approach and we will benefit from that,’ added Martinez. ‘Everton have to be in Europe. It is a priority for us. Maybe we were not ready for the Champions League, even though we fought hard to get into it. This is the perfect next step for us.’
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