Roberto Martinez insists Nikica Jelavic is in the right frame of mind to end his goal drought -- but that his team-mates must chip in to get Everton scoring again.
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Jelavic made a fast start to his career at Goodison Park, hitting 11 goals in his first 16 matches after arriving from Rangers for £5.5 million in January 2012.
But his form has nosedived since then, and he has scored just twice for Everton in 2013; finding the net in a 5-1 FA Cup third-round win at Cheltenham in January and a 2-0 Premier League victory over Manchester City in March.
The Croatia international has not scored in his last 12 appearances for his club, and faces a threat to his starting place with the arrival of Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea on a season’s loan.
Lukaku is ineligible to face his parent club in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Saturday, which leaves Jelavic to see off competition from Arouna Kone to keep his place.
Everton have failed to score in their last two league games, despite creating plenty of openings.
As a result, manager Martinez has had to settle for three Premier League draws to start his reign, when he feels he could have had three victories.
He refuses to pin the blame on Jelavic, and believes that the striker will come good.
“He has been in the right frame of mind. He’s been working extremely hard for the team, Martinez said.
“I don’t think it comes down to one individual. In the three league games we’ve played already, we’ve done enough to win them.
“The difference is that we haven’t been able to score goals. I don’t think that responsibility should come down to one player.
“I do feel that Niki has been working really, really hard. We’ve created enough chances, and he’s been pivotal in that. He’s created a lot in front of goal.
“We probably need to find that final pass and show a bit more composure in front of goal. And we need to score more goals. The way that we control games, it’s fair to say that we need more goals.
“We need to realise that you shouldn’t need so many chances to score a goal. When you don’t score goals, the first question is: Do you create enough?
“Clearly then, it becomes a big problem. If you don’t have the way of playing where you get in the final third of the field with real threat, that’s a problem. But that hasn’t been the case.
“If you look at the number of corners and good opportunities that we’ve had, it’s clear that it’s just a matter of working at that play in the final third.”
Martinez feels that the arrival of Lukaku, who scored 17 times in 20 starts while on loan at West Brom last season, will help get the goals flowing again.
He said: “Romelu has been a really exciting signing for us. He’s young, powerful, strong, very clever with his movement and he’s a clinical finisher.
“I don’t think you will see many better strikers in European football than Romelu. It’s good for the team.
“And if it’s good for the team, it’s good for Niki and Arouna, even though they’re competing against each other to fill that number nine role.”
Ross Barkley is one of only two Everton players to have scored in the Premier League this season -- the other being Seamus Coleman -- and the 19-year-old midfielder is in high spirits ahead of the Chelsea clash after making his England debut in last Friday’s 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Moldova.
New Football Association chairman Greg Dyke last week stressed that it was vital for Premier League clubs to bring through young English talent.
Martinez insists that his priority is the well-being of Everton rather than England, but believes that clubs will benefit from developing their own players.
“You don’t do something for someone else," he said. "We do that for Everton. This club has always had terrific young talent, and we need to make sure we use that talent in the first team.
“To do that, we need to help them and give them a structure where they can be given an opportunity to show what they’ve got.
“Ross Barkley is a great example, but he had to go out on loan, and he had to go through really tough experiences with a bad injury before he was able to play in the first team.
“We’ve got similar cases deeper down. But I feel that if you want to be successful at any club, you need to have good young talent and a good young generation that can be guided to represent the values of the club.
“On the pitch, they can help show the foreign additions how to play and how to represent the club.”
Midfielder Darron Gibson remains out with a knee injury, while defender Antolin Alcaraz is recovering from a hernia.
“Darron and Antolin are back working with the first team,” Martinez said. “Now it’s just a matter of them getting full match fitness.
“That could take a couple of weeks, depending on how they react. I don’t feel Darron and Antolin will be fit for the weekend, but they’re not too far away.”