Everton boss Roberto Martinez has given a fascinating interview with the Sunday Times ahead of today’s match with Tottenham.
Martinez covers a wide range of topics in his 1 on 1 with David Walsh, including the quality of the English top flight, an analysis of English teams in European competitions, plus discussion on his own Everton side.
Kicking off with the league as a whole, Martinez now believes the EPL is best quality league in the world.
It’s worth noting that many have argued that the rise of Leicester, Crystal Palace and Watford this season is evidence that the EPL’s quality is actually pretty low. That’s why everyone can beat everyone.
But Martinez looks at things differently:
The Premier League has always been very competitive. I’ve always thought that we have the best competition in the world but I think now it has also become the best league.
If that’s true, why aren’t English teams leading the way in the Champions League? Martinez had a theory for that too:
Our teams, when they play in the Champions League or Europa League, they suffer domestically. In Spain, Italy and France, a team can go through domestic games at 50% and still win.
Sometimes they get help from the federation to give them an extra day to recover. They get help because they represent their nation in Europe, and we don’t do that. We are too fair, we are too honest and it becomes very tough.
Looking at his own team, the Everton boss believes his side are “on the right path”, while he talked about individual players too.
Gerard Deulofeu is “important”, Romelu Lukaku had the “most impressive” 2015 of any striker in England – big claim, John Stones was highlighted for his professionalism, while Ross Barkley’s “[rare] technical gifts” were praised.
Looking at the bigger picture on what it’s like being a manager in the Premier League, the Spanish boss wasn’t too rosy for the future:
Fifteen years ago everybody was envious of the way you were allowed to work in the British game. You were allowed to put your strategy into place and work at it.
What we’ve done is more or less stick with our system of a manager being responsible for so much more than achieving results, but adopted the Mediterranean model in relation to hiring and firing. And we’ve lost something that was integral to the British game.
What Sir Alex Ferguson did at Manchester United and Arsène Wenger at Arsenal is impossible in the modern era. I find that very sad.