Tom Cleverley and Tim Howard have backed Everton manager Roberto Martinez in the wake of increasing criticism – and insists the players need to take responsibility for their performances.
Hostility has grown towards 42-year-old Martinez within the Everton fanbase throughout the 2015/16 season after another less than impressive campaign.
The Spaniard has also felt the full force of the media spotlight in recent weeks as rumours surrounding his future at the club have continued to grow.
Cleverley and Howard were part of the Toffees’ side that secured a first win in nine matches thanks to a 2-1 victory over Bournemouth at the weekend.
But the midfielder and goalkeeper believe Martinez should not shoulder 100% of the blame for such a wretched run of form, and think the first-team squad need to accept that their displays have been up to standard.
“Any set of fans in the country would be disgruntled by our recent results but it is our job to turn it around,” Cleverley said.
“I felt like they got behind us and we got a good result.
“We have underperformed in spells this season and that is our fault as much as it is everyone else’s at the club.”
Howard, meanwhile, stated: “Everyone talks about the manager but he hasn’t kicked one ball this season.
“It is down to us as players. We are the ones who have to be resilient and dig in. If that hasn’t been good enough, fair dos.
“We have to take that on the chin. The table doesn’t lie.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion so I don’t want to comment on planes and banners but we have to kick the ball, try to save it, try to score.”