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Jagielka urges Everton to save their season

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
#Martinezout was trending on Twitter last night
#Martinezout was trending on Twitter last night

Everton captain Phil Jagielka has urged his team-mates to awaken from their slumber after their latest defeat deepened their relegation fears.

Wednesday's 2-0 defeat at Stoke left the Toffees in 14th place, just six points above the drop zone with 10 games to go, although 18th-placed QPR have a match in hand.

This latest loss saw the heat turned up on Everton boss Roberto Martinez with "#MartinezOut" trending in the UK on Twitter in the aftermath - despite fans in the away end at the Britannia Stadium showing vociferous support for him and the team at half-time - but Jagielka insists the squad must also take the blame.

"The fans were great (against Stoke). It has been a difficult season to watch us because the performances have not been as good as last season," Jagielka told the Liverpool Echo.

"They are going to vent their frustrations, it is normally the manager that gets it as he is head of the food chain.

"But we as players know we need to buck our ideas up, start performing better and take pressure off him, pressure off ourselves and start getting some more points."

Martinez swept into Goodison in 2013 armed with promising sound bites and a snappy dress sense to match a refreshing cavalier playing style that had taken Wigan to FA Cup glory only a month earlier.

The former Swansea midfielder also oversaw Wigan's relegation from the top flight, but that was largely forgotten as he proved a runaway success on Merseyside, taking Everton back into Europe after a four-year absence and just missing out on a place in the Champions League.

However, this season has proved much more difficult for the Toffees, with a porous defence and stuttering form in front of goal leading to a growing sense of frustration.

What has vexed supporters even more is their contrasting displays in the Europa League, with the Toffees beating high-flying Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg home and away en route to a largely trouble-free run into the last 16.

The visit of Dynamo Kiev is next up for Everton in that competition, but Jagielka concedes their focus now has to be moving clear of the Premier League's basement battle.

"We know we need to concentrate on our league form," he added.

"We have 10 games left now and need to pull our finger out and start picking up points."