It'll be a 'tough EPL season'

It'll be a 'tough EPL season'

Everton manager Roberto Martinez said the record television deal secured by the English Premier League (EPL) means the upcoming season will be the toughest in the history of the league.

In February, the EPL sold television rights to its games for a record £5.136 billion (S$10.83 billion), a deal which will run for three years from 2016.

Speaking at a Barclays Asia Trophy press conference yesterday, Martinez said: "This will be one of the most competitive since the start of the Barclays (Premier League)... for a mixture of reasons.

"One major aspect of this campaign (is the) new TV deal... (There is) extra focus for teams to look further forward (in terms of signing players)."

Although the new season is set to start next month, a number of high-profile transfers have already taken place, with the likes of Raheem Sterling (Liverpool to Manchester City), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich to Manchester United) and Petr Cech (Chelsea to Arsenal) just some of the top deals signed so far.

The Spaniard also touched on Everton's disappointing 2014-2015 campaign, where the Toffees finished 11th.

It left much to be desired, considering they were locked in a tight battle for fourth spot with Arsenal just two years ago.

Martinez, who turned 42 on Monday, said: "(Did) the club playing in Europa League have (an) impact on (our league performance). The answer is yes... We got affected by it.

"But as a team, we improved psychologically... It's a lesson we learnt, we got better as a team. We want to be in those positions, to be playing in Europe year after year."

He added that summer signings Gerard Deulofeu and Tom Cleverley will add some much-needed competition for places.

Everton will play Stoke in the Barclays Asia Trophy opener at the National Stadium at 6pm today.

That will be followed by the Arsenal v Singapore Selection match at 8.30pm.

The winners of today's games will then clash for the trophy on Saturday, while the losers will contest the play-off for third.

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