Belgium will need to discover a winning mentality to make the most of their talented players, the team’s new manager Roberto Martinez said on Thursday.
Spaniard Martinez was announced as Belgium’s new coach late on Wednesday, three weeks after former boss Marc Wilmots was dismissed following a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign, which ended in a quarter-final defeat to Wales.
Belgium currently boast a number of high-profile talents such as Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois and Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne.
They have climbed to second in FIFA’s world rankings but failed to live up to their full potential under Wilmots, falling short of expectations at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.
“The biggest area of work is to come into an environment where we can create a winning mentality and not be fearful of what the outside world says about Belgium,” Martinez told his first news conference as Belgium boss.
“The hardest thing is to win when you are expected to win,” added Martinez, who plans to move to Belgium for the job.
Martinez had been out of work since being sacked by Everton in May after a frustrating season when they finished 11th in the Premier League amid considerable supporter unrest at Goodison Park.
During his time at Everton, Martinez worked with Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, who has consistently found the net in the Premier League but has struggled at times to find top form for his country.
“Romelu is one of the biggest talents in football but we need to remember he is only 23,” Martinez said. “I want to help to make him into the player he can be.”
Martinez’s first match in charge will be against his native Spain on Sept. 1.