Everton hoping for new beginning in Singapore
Manager wants to see something unexpected from his players in Barclays Asia Trophy
Considering their good form in the 2013/14 Premier League campaign, it would probably be an understatement for Everton to say last season was a disappointing one.
Manager Roberto Martinez saw his team drop six positions, to 11th in the table, over the course of 12 months.
It is precisely why the Spaniard can't wait for the new season to start.
And it is also why he is hopeful of seeing positive things from his players from as early as pre-season, such as during the Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore next month.
Everton, along with Premiership rivals Stoke City and Arsenal, and a Singapore Selection side, will be taking part in the quadrangular competition at the National Stadium from July 15 to 18.
When asked what he looks forward to most on the tour, he said: "It's discovering new moments of form, players enjoying their football, and new partnerships. You always find something new.
"Sometimes, you will have new signings, younger players will be coming through, or a player will surprise you in a session.
"And that's exciting because you can bring new ideas and new ways of playing. And everything comes up from what you see in pre-season training."
The 41-year-old's debut season at Goodison Park in 2013/14 was nothing short of impressive, as they finished fifth to fall just short of a Champions League spot.
They qualified for the Europa League instead, and many feel that the additional European football commitment stretched their squad too thin and, as a result, their domestic form suffered.
But he will have no such distraction in the upcoming season.
And he appreciates the standard of competition that his charges will be involved in at the Barclays Asia Trophy, as he believes that it can give his team an earlier kick-start than usual.
He said: "I'm very excited, as first and foremost, the preparations for pre-season will be a little different because a trip to Singapore gives an opportunity to work in a different manner.
"Secondly, we're heading to something completely different, that I do feel is going to be perfect in trying to reach a really competitive level quicker than any other pre-season due to the pedigree of this tournament."
The former Wigan Athletic manager is also looking forward to meeting the fans, whose loyalty is not lost on him and the club.
Said Martinez, who listed his iPad as his must-have travel companion: "We are always very much aware of the support we have, and they follow Everton from a distance.
"We will be able to see our fans physically in Singapore and it's a unique opportunity to see our fans in their country.
"And in that respect we are really looking forward to getting closer to them. We have heard that a lot of supporters' clubs from across South-east Asia are looking forward to seeing us.
"They have shared a lot of experiences with us and it's a unique opportunity to get closer to them, rather than always expecting them to travel to Goodison Park and making a long trek to see the team play."
Barclays Asia Trophy
Stoke and Singapore Selection.
July 15 and July 18. Matches 6pm and 8.30pm.
Ticket prices for July 15 range from $25 (Cat 4, child) to $145 (Cat 1). Prices for July 18 are from $28 to $155.
Tickets can be bought at www.sportshubtix.sg, the box office at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and all SingPost outlets.