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Martinez wary of in-form Chelsea

PA Sport
August 29, 2014

Everton boss Roberto Martinez expects Chelsea to provide a formidable test of his side's mettle this weekend.

The Toffees have impressed in their opening two Barclays Premier League games but they twice surrendered leads to draw 2-2 with both Leicester and Arsenal.

Martinez knows the punishment for any mishaps could be even more severe as the title favourites visit Goodison Park on Saturday evening.

Martinez said: "We know it is going to be a difficult test, but we feel hurt about the points we have dropped so late and everything is down to us to try to be as good as we can.

"But unless you are at your top level you can't really compete against teams like Chelsea.

"It is clear Chelsea and Manchester City have started really strongly. They have shown they have no stopping period, they have just started where they left off.

"They are looking in top form straight away and it could be a really difficult sign for everyone else.

"We know how they played last season and now they have got more flair and more options in attack. That makes them a very complete team."

Martinez guided Everton to fifth in his first season in charge and expects to be challenging at the top end again.

He has seen plenty of positive signs but knows his team need to sustain their stronger spells.

This was highlighted last weekend as they allowed Arsenal to come back from 2-0 down with seven minutes remaining.

Martinez said: "It has been very curious (so far). We have shown incredible signs of the team that we can be.

"We need to extend the first 45-minute performance for 90 minutes.

"When we do that I think we are going to see the potential of the squad."

Martinez will check on the fitness of his two former Chelsea strikers before deciding if he can unleash them on their old club.

Samuel Eto'o, released by Chelsea at the end of last season, this week joined the Merseysiders on a two-year contract.

A lack of match fitness might make him an unlikely starter while Romelu Lukaku, whose successful loan from Stamford Bridge was made permanent for B£28million this summer, has a toe injury.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho is not expecting Fernando Torres to leave Chelsea before the end of the transfer window, admitting they will be in trouble if the striker does depart.

Reports suggest the 30-year-old's frustrating and underwhelming three-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge could be coming to an end in the coming days.

AC Milan are reportedly closing in on a move for the one-time B£50million man, but widespread talk of an exit before Monday night's deadline was downplayed by Mourinho.

"If he wants to leave, in the case he wants to, it's because he wants to try a new life, a new club, probably a new league," the Portuguese said.

"So if he wants to leave, which until this moment I have not one single word about, I believe that is to try to be happier than he was in the last couple of years.

"This is a very human club in the way the club approaches this kind of situation. If he comes to us in these last couple of days, any possibility would be analysed by us as a club and the best decision for him."

Torres' departure would leave Chelsea short of the three strikers Mourinho believes will be necessary to fight on all fronts this season.

The Blues manager likes him as a player and a person and insists there are no plans afoot to replace him.

"Well, if that happens in the last hour of the market, we are in trouble," said Mourinho, who has been linked with a move for Roma's Mattia Destro.

"In this moment we are doing nothing because our belief is that the market is closed for us.

"I've believed for a long time that the squad is closed. We have our squad. We like our squad. It's not the perfect one, because no squad is perfect, but it's one we like."

Mourinho's task will be made all the more difficult on Merseyside should Diego Costa fail in his bid to overcome a minor muscle injury.

The striker has scored in both of Chelsea's matches this season but has been unable to train for the past two days.

"He has to try a light training session to see if the reaction is positive," Mourinho said.

"If it's positive, we'll take him to Everton to play or be on the bench. Let's see.

"If the reaction is not positive on Friday, obviously we don't select him. At this moment, I don't know much."

© PA Sport
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