Martinez: We won’t underestimate Fulham

    Roberto Martinez insists Fulham’s current league position belies the quality contained within the Cottagers squad.

    Martin Jol’s team are yet to hit full stride this season and sit 18th in the table after winning just one of their first five Premier League fixtures.

    Fulham also struggled to overcome Burton Albion in the previous round and had Martinez’s former charge Hugo Rodellaga to thank with his 117th minute extra-time equaliser before scraping through on penalty kicks.

    In comparison to Fulham’s below par start, Everton travel to London looking to extend their unbeaten sequence to seven matches.

    Martinez, however, is adamant Tuesday’s tie will not be as straightforward as the form guides suggest.

    “I would never ever underestimate this Fulham side,” declared the Spaniard at his pre-match press conference. “I admire Martin Jol and the way he gets his team playing.

    “I think they use playing at Craven Cottage to their advantage and they are really strong and solid defensively, and then on the ball they use the space really well. They never play in straight lines.

    “They have individuals who can win a game with a little bit of magic and we will have to be at our best to keep a clean sheet.

    “I know it’s going to be a harder game than you would expect when assessing the start Fulham have made to their season. I know this Fulham team is capable of beating anyone on their day.”

    Martinez highlighted the influence that holding midfield duo Steve Sidwell and Scott Parker have on the Fulham side.

    Leon Osman is expected to miss the trip to West London, so Darron Gibson – back fit after a knee injury – could be given the task of nullifying their control in the central areas.

    “It’s a really nice partnership,” Martinez said. “They have experience and know-how which gives a very good balance to the side.

    “They have centre-halves of the calibre of Hangeland and in the forward positions there are Berbatov, Rodallega and Ruiz if he is fit. They are players that can take advantage of the balance that Parker and Sidwell give to the team.”

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