Martinez defends Funes Mori tackle

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has defended the actions of Ramiro Funes Mori, after the Argentine centre-back received a straight red card for a nasty challenge on Liverpool’s Divock Origi.

Origi had to be stretchered off in the 55th minute of Wednesday night’s Premier League clash, and Funes Mori angered Liverpool supporters after grabbing his badge as he left the field of play.

However, Martinez feels the challenge was not as bad as replays suggest, saying the defender merely got caught up in the emotion of the Merseyside derby.

“Ramiro tries to win the ball. That is his intent – he doesn’t try to hurt the player,” said Martinez.

“It is a mistimed challenge and at that time he gets Divock Origi’s ankle. It could have been a yellow card, it could have been a red card. I can understand why the referee gave it.

“Ramiro probably got carried away with the emotion of the derby.”

Reflecting on the 4-0 defeat, Martinez admitted it was probably the lowest point of his Everton tenure.

“It doesn’t come any worse than that,” he added. “Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.

“The whole chain of events was horrific and it is a showing we need to forget as quickly as we can.”

Next up for the Toffees is a crunch clash with Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals. However, Martinez will have precious few options in defence, with Funes Mori suspended for the clash and John Stones rated doubtful after being substituted with stomach cramps.

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