Roberto Martinez is capable of turning around a woeful week and masterminding Everton to FA Cup glory against Manchester United this weekend.
That’s the verdict of Gary Caldwell, Martinez’s former captain at Wigan Athletic, who is backing the under-fire Spaniard to lead the Toffees to next month’s FA Cup final.
The midweek drubbing at Liverpool increased the pressure on Martinez, after a below-par league campaign. But Caldwell does not feel the stick he has received from a section of the Everton fans has been warranted.
“I don’t think so, no,” Caldwell said.
“I think Roberto’s done a fantastic job at Everton, he’s changed the style and brought a more attacking style to the club.
“Obviously he’ll be the first to say results in the league this year haven’t been great.
“But they are in the semi-final of the FA Cup – and I know they haven’t won the FA Cup for 21 years because Joe (Parkinson) reminds me when they won it every day!
“If he goes on to win the FA Cup, he should be regarded as a legend at that club, because they’re not a club that wins things regularly.
“He’s put them in a position where they are in with a chance of winning a trophy, and I think he’s done a great job.
“The pressure is obviously warranted for the form in the league. But hopefully he goes on to win the cup and gets the club back going again.”
The Everton players will certainly need lifting after losing 4-0 at Anfield in nthe Premier League on Tuesday.
But Caldwell feels Martinez is just the man to plot their way past Louis van Gaal’s United.
“I wouldn’t say he was a motivator,” Caldwell assessed. “I would say he was much more of a tactician and clever in his philosophy of the game, and how football should be played.
“He gave you great ideas and great belief in yourself.
“He was somebody that, when he’d spoken to you, made you feel better about yourself, and made you feel a better player than probably you actually were.
“I’m sure he’s doing that now, and I’m sure they’ll go out on Saturday and get a good result.
“I don’t even know if it would be a shock if Everton won.
“I see it as two even teams, probably 50/50, and it could go either way.
“Either way I’ll be rooting for them and hopefully they can get a positive result.”
Martinez will take heart from his previous trip to Wembley – when Latics bounced back from a disastrous midweek defeat to Swansea in the league to famously beat Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup final.
“I’d say that was probably one of his big strengths,” Caldwell added.
“In big games, he was always very good at getting the team ready and setting the team up tactically to get the result.
“I’m sure he’ll have done his work on Manchester United, he’ll know them inside out and he’ll know how he’s going to beat them.
“In that regard, he’s one of the best at doing that.”