Martinez: Everton's derby defeat can strengthen top-four bid

The Spaniard will not give up in his pursuit of Champions League qualification despite the 4-0 humbling at the hands of their Merseyside rivals at Anfield on Tuesday
Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes his side's heavy 4-0 defeat to Liverpool could boost their push for a top-four Premier League finish.

Martinez's men lie sixth in the table following the thrashing at Anfield but he is backing his side to contend for Champions League qualification despite the setback.

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The Toffees had lost the fewest games in the top flight prior to Tuesday's fixture and had only conceded more than two goals on two occasions, but the Spaniard feels it will help the progress in the long run.

"A defeat like the one on Tuesday could finally push us into being a team that can finally compete in that top four," Martinez told reporters.

"You don't want a defeat like that against your rivals, but I think we need to learn a lot from it. If we do that, I think we will finally be a contender for the top positions in this table.

"We are alongside an elite group in the table, with Arsenal and Chelsea. We only have three defeats.

"The reality is we went to Anfield and couldn't add any points. But that is all it was. You need to take the emotion away and understand it is just one defeat, and only our third of the season."

Martinez believes evidence of how far Everton have come this season came in Liverpool's approach to the game, as Brendan Rodgers set his team up to play on the counterattack and allow the visitors to control possession.

"Liverpool played us a huge compliment by allowing us to have the ball, as they dropped deep and left players to hit us on the counter," he argued.

"But we didn't take advantage of that huge football compliment. It was the opposite, it made us uneasy and we couldn't deal with that, lost the concentration - and that is not our standards.

"But it is that mentality of understanding you need to take that football compliment on board and make sure you take advantage. It would be the mentality that we need to learn from as much as anything."