Martinez lauds Everton display

Romelu Lukaku scored in the first half before Kevin Mirallas added a second 15 minutes from time as Everton beat a side who have won 10 out of their last 13 matches.

Everton???s place in the round of 32 was already secured following Krasnodar’s 1-1 draw with Lille, but Martinez was thrilled with the manner of his side???s performance, particularly at the back.

“We had to defend really well, and when we did we defended in numbers,??? Martinez said. “We were patient with that and ready to use the counter-attack to good effect.

“On the transition we were lethal and every time we broke we looked really threatening. It allowed us to score two goals and we had another disallowed, plus Aiden McGeady also had a good chance.

“I also thought the two centre-halves (Phil Jagielka and Distin) and (goalkeeper) Tim Howard were outstanding, and I think the shape of the team helped those three to be at their best.”

Martinez also praised striker Lukaku who netted his sixth of the season before laying on compatriot Mirallas for Everton???s second.

“Rom has had, in my eyes, a very good start to the season,??? the Spaniard said. “Maybe he has not grabbed the headlines from the outside but we know how important he is for us.

“You look at his game and he becomes a focal point in everything we want to do. You don’t get many strikers who are so strong and good at running with the ball with that power, pace and clinical finishing.

“Then his hold-up play is exceptional, and at the age of 21 he is a young man with his future in front of him. We value Rom immensely. We have been getting on with our season on the quiet and I think Rom has been exactly the same.

“We are building something special going into the second half of the season. That is our objective.”

The only sour note for Everton was an injury to James McCarthy which forced the midfielder off in the first half.

???He has had a long-standing problem with his hamstring,??? the manager said.

“He felt it out there and we will assess him over the next 24 hours. But it is a worrying sign when it is a problem we’ve had for the last few weeks, and maybe we need to find the real reason behind it.”

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