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Everton manager Roberto Martinez admits he faces a defining week as he battles to save his job.
While the Toffees have qualified for the FA Cup semi-final, Martinez is under increasing pressure following a run of just three wins in 15 Premier League games, which has left the club in the bottom half of the table.
Everton face Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, less than 72 afters the Merseyside derby, and Martinez knows his future could hinge on results over the coming days.
"Football is about results and I would never be stupid enough to look away from that," said Martinez ahead of Wednesday's clash with Liverpool. "From the first day I was the one who drove the expectations here, and the hunger and desire to be competing where we should be at Everton – playing attractive, competitive football and going eye-to-eye with teams.
"That is what we are going to do. We need our fans more than ever. This week is our opportunity to show how good we can be when we are together."
Captain Phil Jagielka and Seamus Coleman will both miss Wednesday’s visit to Anfield, while Leighton Baines, Aaron Lennon and Tom Cleverley remain doubtful and Martinez is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing his players.
"It’s a defining week, but with big excitement. To be in a semi-final of the FA Cup is an incredible opportunity and we’re all very excited, but that’s something we will address after Wednesday," Martinez told reporters.
"We have five games left in the league and we want to finish as strong as we can.
"The derby is more than a game, it’s not just three points but an opportunity to make our fans proud – we know we are facing a team in good form and we’re looking forward to playing a big part in this derby.
"It is a defining week in our season, just like any team still involved in more than one competition. I wouldn’t like to go throughout this season without a defining week, just like how the quarter-final was a defining week and we were successful."