Roberto Martinez has defended his Everton reign – and insisted he is closer than ever to bringing success to the Merseyside club.
The Spaniard has come under-fire from supporters following a season of under-achievement.
The Toffees are currently sitting 11th in the Premier League table having failed to win any of their last seven games and suffered a disheartening loss to Manchester United in their FA Cup semi-final last Saturday.
Calls for Martinez to be sacked have grown ever-louder in recent weeks and significant protests are apparently planned for Saturday’s home game against Bournemouth.
But the 42-year-old, who has been in charge since June 2013, is determined to win over his critics and has urged fans to judge him over his entire tenure, not the past three months.
“Scrutiny I welcome and accept. I understand it completely,” he said.
“I always encourage huge expectations and as a football club we have to drive to challenge for silverware and challenge for the top four. When we’re not, scrutiny needs to be there.
“But it shouldn’t be scrutiny of the last two months or three months. It should be of three seasons, scrutiny about the team we’ve put together.
“The first season we had a record points tally, last season we were the last team in the British game to be knocked out of Europe, this season we made two semi-finals.
“I’m ready to fight more than ever and closer, probably, to finding a way to challenge for silverware.”
There is a sense that sections of the club’s support are past the point of no return in terms of backing the former Wigan boss, but he has not given up on reconciliation.
“The message is we are all in this together,” he said.
“It’s only when you get through these difficult experiences and painful moments that you get renewed drive.
“I understand their passion. They make us the football club we are, football without passion makes no sense.”