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Poch wary of Everton threat
7:00am Saturday 28th December 2013 in Sport
Everton’s first home league defeat of 2013 might be viewed by many as a positive for Saints – but Mauricio Pochettino insists he is disappointed by it.
The Merseyside club were beaten 1-0 by Sunderland on Boxing Day, ending a run of nearly 12 months without a loss at Goodison Park.
Everton’s previous Premier League home defeat had been at the end of December 2012, against Chelsea.
While the Toffees losing the winning feeling at Goodison Park can be seen as a good thing for Saints, ahead of their trip there tomorrow, Pochettino would have preferred things to be different, as he wanted his team to be the ones who upset them.
“It’s the first time that Everton lost (at home) in 2013,” he said.
“We wanted to be the ones that broke that record and beat them at Everton, but Sunderland beat us to it.”
Tomorrow’s encounter will be a clash that arguably features two of the division’s most improved clubs.
Saints have made many observers sit up and take notice with their performances this season and, although a six-game winless streak knocked them down the table to ninth, the 3-0 Boxing Day victory at Cardiff got them back on track in style.
Everton have enjoyed an even better campaign so far, challenging towards the very top of the division.
They currently occupy fifth position, and are five points behind first-placed Arsenal.
“It’s clear we are going to be facing a tough side, a tough opponent, a great manager in Roberto Martinez,” said Pochettino.
“It’s going to be a very tough game.
“Even under David Moyes they were a tough side that was always fighting for the first seven or eight positions and now they have a great manager in Roberto Martinez.”
Everton might have sold one of their star players, Marouane Fellaini, in the final hours of the summer transfer window, but Martinez’s acquisitions that same day – Romelu Lukaku, Gareth Barry and James McCarthy – have helped propel them forward.
“They have made amazing signings as well, so I’m fully aware we’re going to be facing a really tough side,” said Pochettino.
The Saints boss, pictured left, already knows Martinez by virtue of the pair’s Spanish connections, and he has been impressed at how well the former Wigan boss has done at his new club.
“Of course I know him from a long time ago,” he said. “He’s been a long time in England and he fully deserves everything that he’s getting, because he’s fully earned it.”
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