5 Reasons Why Roberto Martinez's 1st Year at Everton Has Been a Success
Consecutive losses and extinguished top four dreams have seen Everton's season rather limp to the finish.
Everton will finish the campaign in fifth, just one place better off than last year, yet there are many reasons why Martinez's inaugural season has been a roaring success.
Here's a look at how he's brought instant progress to the Toffees.
First Year Was Supposed to Be Transitional
First of all, by simply finishing higher than last season—the Toffees' best position since 2009—Martinez has achieved success.
As David Moyes highlighted at Manchester United, any time a manager arrives at a new club that's performed well, there's usually regression.
The club has been drilled in another man's methods for years and any tweaks—which were giant changes in Martinez's case—generally take time to develop.
Most pre-season predictions saw Everton falling from last year's impressive sixth-placed finish.
The fact Everton have improved positions during the Catalan's first season is impressive on its own.
It's been a surprise to many and, as he implements his philosophy further, there's much intrigue and excitement over the coming seasons.
Best Ever Premier League Season
However, saying Everton have finished just one place higher than last season doesn't show the true extent of Martinez's success.
His new side have 69 points, already their best Premier League haul and most since 1988.
During the season the Toffees have also recorded seven successive wins, again their leading Premier League return and best run since 1987.
Finally, Everton's tally of 20 wins is yet another Premier League record for the club, not bettered since 1987.
For Martinez to achieve all that during a supposedly transitional season is, frankly, outstanding.
Installed an Improving, Progressive Style
On the pitch, everything Martinez commands is progressive, contrasting the often reactive, pragmatic approach of Moyes.
One of his biggest changes has been Everton's switch to a possession-based system, something the Toffees have by no means mastered but have already found success with.
This approach makes Martinez's time at the club far more of a journey. Every transfer window will see players targeted to fit this system and every training session will be tailored to mastering it.
Everton now have an end goal with this system and every game sees them focus on how best to use it instead of concentrating on how to stifle an opponent.
If its first season brought more Premier League points than ever before, it's exciting to imagine its full potential.
Erased Mental Scars, Revelled in Favouritism
Further success this season has come from the way Martinez has begun removing some sizeable mental scars around the club.
Everton were never comfortable with a favourites tag under Moyes, but this has been something the Catalan has been quick to remedy.
He has constantly lauded his side's potential and it's paid off with some big performances, prolonging their top four challenge longer than in any recent season.
Winning such a potentially crucial game at home to Arsenal highlighted this important shift to a more imperious mentality.
Furthermore, Everton would often go into their shell away from home. Games against the top sides were fixtures Moyes would often park the proverbial bus and hope to emerge unscathed.
His record away at top clubs was woeful, at best, never winning at Old Trafford, the Emirates, Anfield or Stamford Bridge during his 11 years in charge.
Martinez's side produced two of their best performances at Arsenal and Manchester United and were unfortunate to emerge with just four points instead of six.
They were unlucky at Spurs and Chelsea, and—as this mentality evolves—they will be confident of taking more during future key clashes.
Brought Through and Trusted Youth
Finally, one of the most exciting facets of Martinez's first season has been the involvement of so many young players.
Ross Barkley had started just two Premier League games before this season yet has become integral in the Catalan's first campaign.
At 23, James McCarthy is a strong contender for the club's Player of the Year, while John Stones has announced himself as the best young defensive prospect in the country.
Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu have also played important roles, albeit as temporary signings.
While he didn't feature, the fact Martinez included 16-year-old Ryan Ledson, an immensely talented under-17 international, on his bench further emphasises his confidence in youth.
Luke Garbutt and Tyias Browning have also been regular substitutes, while Martinez has been eager to find loan moves for as many academy prospects as possible.
Why this is a success is because of what it means for the Toffees' future; not just on the field, but financially, too.
A club with such limited financial resources must nurture and hone their own talent to raise the value of their squad.
Martinez has shown a willingness to do this, bringing him immediate rewards and laying strong foundations for the future.