Everton's upcoming Merseyside derby with Liverpool could mark a turning point for under-fire manager Marco Silva, according to former Toffees boss Roberto Martinez.
Big money was spent in the summer transfer window at Goodison Park, with Alex Iwobi, Moise Kean and Jean-Philippe Gbamin added to the squad in a bid to push up the Premier League table in search of European football.
Results have been far from perfect, however, with Everton registering only four wins from their first 13 league games of the season and currently occupying a spot in the table just two points above the relegation zone.
Reports have suggested that David Moyes, Eddie Howe and Mark Hughes, among others, could soon be drafted in to replace Silva at the helm, but Martinez feels it is too early to think about replacing the Portuguese and that next week's clash with Liverpool could see the team finally click.
“That's a game that would show an incredible mentality from Everton,” the current Belgium boss told the Evening Standard. “It's always difficult to go to Anfield and get a positive result and Liverpool's home record is as good as it gets.
“So, getting a historic result at Anfield could be the start of a new campaign. It really is more important than a Merseyside derby – Merseyside derbies are very special but I think in this case there's a lot to win for Everton.
“I was a manager in the Premier League for seven consecutive years, 255 games, and I know that things can change very quickly. The season can change and probably you need an outstanding result that sets the tone and Anfield could be the place.”
A sudden upswing in results would be most welcome for Everton fans, with the club's upcoming fixture list an unpleasant read for a team out of form. The Toffees face high-flying Leicester twice, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal in their next six games.
Still, Martinez feels that the club's hierarchy should not make a decision on whether Silva is the man to take the team forward until closer to the end of the 2019-20 campaign.
“It's only 13 games into the season,” Martinez added. “Obviously it hasn't been a real bright start in terms of getting the points that probably Everton, with the investment, would expect to get in this initial third of the season.
“Still, it's one third, and sometimes you need to go through pain and trauma as a team to become strong again. The time to make the assessment will be more at the end of the season and see how the campaign has allowed the team to gel together and become as strong as it can.”