Crystal Palace are becoming somewhat of a bogey team for Everton and Roberto Martinez acknowledged that in his pre-match press conference.
The Blues' boss said his team will "have to be at their very best" because Palace have sprung results against them in the past and against teams around Everton in the Premier League table.
He also admitted Palace are always a "very difficult" side to play against, as they have "pace, power and have been together for a long time."
Martinez on the Capital One Cup
Everton progressed into the Capital One Cup semi-finals after beating Middlesbrough 2-0 at the Riverside stadium. Everton now have Manchester City standing between them and a trip to Wembley and Martinez is ready to take them on.
He said at this stage of the competition, you naturally cannot expect any "easy games", but that his side feel good, are "playing well" and as a consequence, are "very confident" because of it.
Martinez hoped that the second leg of the tie would be at Goodison Park but the balls were not drawn they way he had hoped.
Martinez on Everton being at their very best
The Spaniard wants his Everton team to be at their very best going forward. The Toffees have youth on their side and Martinez wants to use that to mould a winning culture on Merseyside.
The boss said the team is "pushing each other to get better" as the players know they "can improve." He said that the most important thing is to keep picking up points but wants his Everton team to do so in an "exciting" manner.
Martinez on the month ahead
The Blues now have a tricky December month ahead, with a number of tricky games ahead. The Blues will face one of the most surprising teams of the season in Leicester City as well as teams like Stoke City who have yet to fully click.
Martinez says that the ability to compete for 15 points over a quick period is "significant" and his team will never stop "trying to improve" as a unit - because he, as well as they, want to win "consistently", but also in style to please their supporters.
Martinez on Everton’s defence
With captain Phil Jagielka out injured, Everton have had to call on Ramiro Funes Mori to deputise and the Argentine has done well in his absence.
Martinez praised Mori's willingness to adapt to the rigours of England's top flight - citing that as a factor in his rapid development since his arrival in the summer from River Plate, saying that is one of the reasons why Everton "made the big investment" in his services. Martinez said that he does want his captain to return as quickly as possible but is happy with Mori and John Stones’ performances of late.
Injuries and fitness
Leighton Baines and Tom Cleverley finally returned from injury during the week and played a part in the Capital One Cup tie with Middlesbrough. Muhamed Besic is edging closer to a return and may be ready in time for the visit of Crystal Palace. James McCarthy missed the Middlesbrough game and Martinez said he won’t know until Sunday if he will be ready or not to face the Eagles.