English Premiership

Martinez issues 'home form' warning

Everton (AP)
Everton (AP)

Liverpool - Everton manager Roberto Martinez says that his side must do better at home if they are to fulfil their ambitions of a return to European competition.

The Merseyside club have hit form ahead of Saturday's visit of West Bromwich Albion, with three successive 3-0 wins.

The last two of those have come in the Premier League, lifting Everton to eighth place in the table, one place below potential Europa League qualification depending on which teams win the FA Cup and League Cup.

But their win over Newcastle United at the start of February was Everton's first in the league at Goodison Park since November.

Top scorer Romelu Lukaku believes that Champions League qualification remains a viable target, but Martinez knows that his side need to improve their home form if they are to continue climbing the league.

"We don't try to hide the fact we want to reach the top four," said the Spaniard, whose side qualified for the Europa League in 2014 after finishing fifth.

"That won't happen overnight, but we are giving big roles to young players. If you look at our away record, it is even better than two years ago, but we drop too many points at home.

"Romelu accepts that challenge and that we need to become better. We want to aim high and be involved in the latter stages of every competition and be in the top four.

"As a team we are getting better. It shows after a demanding 18 months. The European campaign is helping us and we are getting the rewards on that."

Everton, who have also reached the fifth round of the FA Cup, have lost away from home only once in the league this season - a record not bettered by any other side - and won 3-2 at West Brom in late September.

However, only three clubs have managed fewer than the Toffees' four home wins and two of those are in the relegation places.