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Martinez plays down title talk

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Everton boss Roberto Martinez has said it is far too early to be talking about his side lifting the title this season.

Everton head into Christmas just two points off the top of the table, having lost just once this season.

They will be looking for more points over the festive period – they face Sunderland and Southampton in back-to-back home games in the space of a few days this week. Victories would motivate the club to feeling they could lift their first Premier League title.

But Martinez said: ‘We are in December. I would not be foolish enough to speak about the league. It is too early in the season.

‘All we are doing is trying to be very consistent in our performances.

‘The stats reflect that – only one defeat in 17 is a consistent way of performing.

‘The next thing is to carry on developing, carry on working hard.

‘I feel we haven’t reached our full potential and that excites me.

‘That is the only focus that we have through this festive period.

‘We just want to get to April with the biggest amount of points we can.

‘That is the moment we sit down and look at the table and set the aims for the season in the league campain.’

Avoiding defeat in the next two games would mean that Everton would be unbeaten in the league at home in 2013.

Everton have not lost at home in the competition since their visit from Chelsea on December 30th last year.

Martinez said: ‘I don’t think that is a stat we want to be focusing on. Obviously we want to win every game we go into.

‘The reality is if you get an award or a trophy for doing that, we would consider that, but what we want is to finish as high as we can at the end of the season, and the home form is going to be vital for that.

‘It is something special at Goodison. The fans and the players have a real unity that helps you to get through adversity and disappointment.

‘That has been a real advantage and we don’t want that to change.’

Martinez will not be taking his next match lightly despite Sunderland’s position at the bottom of the table.

History is against Sunderland with only one side having escaped the “Christmas curse,” that side was West Brom.

But Martinez claims he has seen signs of change under new Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, who took charge in October, and thinks they can avoid the drop.

He said: ‘When you have got a team that is capable of beating Man City in the manner that they did, you know they are going to get wins against anyone.

‘They have been going through a transitional period.

‘The new manager has brought different ideas.

‘It was a phenomenal performance against Manchester City. They have got good footballers and they can hurt you in possession.

‘This league can be very tough. You are not going to get an outstanding win and then link it up with another two or three good results – it doesn’t happen when you are down there.

‘But if you have got the quality to get that outstanding result, it shows you can get enough results coming strong in the final third of the season.

‘I see Sunderland being a team that grow into the season and finish the season really strongly.

‘The team is starting to get used to his ideas and his vision. I know he is going to bring a lot of success to Sunderland.

‘We will have to be at our best and prepared for a tough afternoon.’

Everton could welcome back England left-back Leighton Baines after a month out with a broken toe.

By Rory Whitelaw

Tweet me your thoughts and opinions – @HEELRory

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