Roberto Martinez once again stressed that whichever eleven players are named in the starting line-up for Sunday’s FA Cup fifth round tie with Leicester City/Huddersfield Town, their sole aim is to reach the quarter finals of the competition.
Martinez has in previous rounds handed opportunities to younger members of the squad and those in need of game-time, sharing the demands of playing in two competitions simultaneously among the whole group.
The Spaniard is pleased with progression in the cup as a result, highlighting the desire of the players when given the chance to prove themselves on the pitch:
“We’ve got a good pool of players who are all hungry to play, so the cup competitions become even more important when you factor that in.
“In previous rounds we’ve benefitted from having the opportunity to give players the chance to show what they can do and stake a claim for a place in the team once the Premier League returns.
“Whatever team is named at the start of the day has the big ambition to win, and that’s the mentality we want to create around the club in every competition that we play in.
“On the one hand it is a distraction from the league, but it’s also the greatest cup competition in the world and therefore one we’ll not be taking lightly.
“I know the support from the fans will be tremendous; the fifth round of the FA Cup doesn’t come around too often, so let’s enjoy it and aim to progress further.”
The Gaffer spoke of how Premier League or Championship status will count for nothing on Sunday, and how experiences in the Capital One Cup have served the team well in the FA Cup:
“We’ve performed well in the cup this year, and to be fair I thought we deserved to progress further in the Capital One Cup also.
“What that experience taught us is that we need to take care of the small details in every game; Leicester and Huddersfield have got this far because they are a strong team who can cope with the demands asked of them.
“League status won’t count for anything on Sunday, so we need to be focused mentally and be ourselves in tough circumstances.”