Liverpool: Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes his side are capable of negotiating an “exciting” FA Cup quarter-final visit to Arsenal.
Martinez, looking to win the knockout competition for the second time in successive seasons after guiding Wigan to an unlikely Wembley triumph last year, saw his current side reach the last eight with a convincing 3-1 win over another of his former clubs in Swansea at Goodison Park on Sunday.
And while Martinez could barely conceal his disappointment at being handed such a difficult challenge, the Spaniard clearly believes Everton are capable of advancing to the semi-finals.
“You always hope to have a home tie,” said Martinez, whose side were denied a Merseyside derby quarter-final by Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Liverpool, also on Sunday.
“But that’s the excitement of the FA Cup. We’re in the sixth round and that’s a fantastic position to get a trip to Wembley.
“That’s when it makes it exciting.
“The draw hasn’t been too kind, playing away from home but it doesn’t matter.
“If you want to win the Cup, you have to be able to face anyone and adapt towards it. If you want a word, it is ‘professionalism’ and we showed it [by playing] against a Championship team [QPR] in the third round and then in the fourth round away at a League One side, Stevenage.
“This will be just perfect to show whether we can win the Cup or not. To win an away tie like that, you have to be at the top of your game and we will embrace it and look forward to it.
“It will be a fantastic game of football.”
After debutant Lacina Traore’s opening goal had been equalised by Swansea’s Jonathan de Guzman, Martinez made some telling second-half substitutions, with Steven Naismith and Leon Osman coming on after an hour.
Naismith not only scored Everton’s second goal, from a poor Neil Taylor back-pass, but also won a penalty, from which Leighton Baines completed the scoring.
Traore, making his first appearance for the club since joining on loan from Monaco in last month’s transfer window, particularly impressed Martinez.
“For Lacina Traore to play 60 minutes was a real success,” said the Everton manager.
“He has been working really hard and we had to introduce him slowly because of the type of season he has been having.
“I thought he coped with those instructions for the team off the ball really well and he scored within four minutes of his new career. It is a beautiful sign for the future.
“Then to see Steven Naismith continue with his good vein of form, it was a perfect moment for him.”
Losing manager Garry Monk denied suggestions that he’d fielded a weakened team, despite having made eight changes for the visit to Merseyside, and that he was more concerned by Thursday’s Europa League tie with Napoli than a possible in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
“When you have seven games in 21 days, it is impossible to play the same team in every game,” said Monk who tasted defeat for the first time in charge of the Welsh club, three games after succeeding the sacked Michael Laudrup.
“It’s a squad game. That is the way football is. Everyone seems amazed when there is rotation but it is a squad game and there are so many games and, with Europe, you have to have that rotation.
“I’m not going to just do it to make changes, I will pick a team to win the game.
“Coming into this game, I was not thinking that the Europa League is more important.
“I’m telling the truth… I put a team out there that I thought could win the game.”