Martinez to prioritise Barclays Asia Trophy if Everton qualify for Europe
Everton and West Ham are currently in contention (fair play leaders Liverpool are almost certain to qualify for Europe via league placing) to take the single spot on offer for the Premier League, with the teams facing each other this weekend.
If the Blues do end up with the fewest cards at the end of the season, the first leg of a potential Europa League second qualifying round tie on July 16 would clash with the Everton - Stoke City fixture for the Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore.
However, it appears Everton boss Roberto Martinez is committed to making the trip to Singapore with his first team no matter what happens.
“We are not going to change. We are not going to get the players out of the Singapore trip. Obviously the game on the 16th, we are in Singapore - we wouldn’t be able to be here,” he told the Daily Mirror.
“I am saying that maybe we would change the thinking or the flight back. Some of the fans were concerned about whether we would [not] play in Singapore, but we are not going to change that.”
Martinez also insisted that Everton would not look to escape the schedule clash by purposely fouling their opponents on the weekend, as the Europa League would still prove invaluable experience for younger players who would not be on the plane to Singapore.
“Believe me, I don’t think any team will be looking at a Fair Play table. I don’t think West Ham will look at it and I don’t think a team would behave wrongly in order not to get in,” he said.
“I don’t think you can do that. As a player on the pitch you have to be very good to control that. You don’t train to do that.
“The opportunity of being in the early rounds of Europe is something that we would embrace as a football club.
"It wouldn’t change our preparations for the first-team squad. You have the internationals finishing on June 17 and the first qualifying round on July 2. We are not going to change anything, For our younger players, it is an opportunity we would want.”