Martinez thrilled with players' response in Blues' win

by | 06/01/2016  28 Comments  [Jump to last]

Roberto Martinez hailed his team's character and the backing of a raucous Goodison Park crowd as Everton hit back after seeing their first-half lead wiped out by Jesus Navas to win the first leg of this Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

The Blues were leading at the break thanks to Ramiro Funes Mori's goal in stoppage time at the end of the first period but they suffered a set-back at the interval when Tom Cleverley had to be substituted and replaced by Leon Osman because of injury. Martinez's men were ahead going into the final quarter of an hour but were caught on the counter-attack and Navas tucked home Sergio Aguero's pass that made it 1-1.

Everton were back in front almost immediately, however, when Romelu Lukaku scored his 12th goal in as many games with a close-range header off Barry's pin-point cross from the left flank. The Belgian had picked up an ankle injury a couple of minutes beforehand and had to be replaced by Arouna Kone just minutes before Seamus Coleman hobbled off leaving the Toffees to see out the remainder of the game with 10 men.

"We knew the first leg was going to be a difficult challenge but also an incredible footballing occasion," Martinez told Sky Sports after the match. "I thought Goodison Park was rocking and the atmosphere was terrific.

"But the character that we showed was incredible; that's probably the most important aspect of the performance. We had to cope with losing Tom Cleverley at half time through an injury and then Romelu Lukaku picked up a knock in his ankle and then we have to end the game with 10 players.

"For that period, to be able to manage the game... We kept the ball well and, overall, the reaction to conceding and never conceding 'defeat' was very pleasing."

The Catalan was cautious about going overboard despite the impressive nature of his team's performance and the advantage they will take to the Etihad Stadium later this month, though.

"It means nothing; it's the first leg. We had to win our first game and now we'll have to prepare for a very interesting second leg."


Reader Comments (28)

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Rob Williamson
1 Posted 06/01/2016 at 23:31:34
Always proud to be a Blue.... but especially so tonight. The balance that I think Roberto has been searching for seemed to be there this evening and, but for a little more luck and composure in the final third, we could have had a lot more goals. Will it be enough? Who knows? But sometimes we seem to be better away from home.... .
Danny Broderick
2 Posted 06/01/2016 at 23:35:04
Balance seems to be the key word. We have been a lot better in the last 2 games. Let's hope it continues!
Jim Bennings
3 Posted 06/01/2016 at 23:49:16
Great great night!

What an atmosphere, if only it could be like that more often.

I give credit where it's due, he got it right tonight Martinez, our play was consistent throughout and we got the win we craved.

Seeing City tonight, my verdict is they are beatable, this is do-able, we can hurt them and psychologically they will know that too now!

Peter Roberts
4 Posted 06/01/2016 at 23:49:42
Like him or loathe him I thought Bobby got the tactics spot on tonight. Defend when needed and harry City all night long and make them play through us.
James Wong
6 Posted 07/01/2016 at 01:27:03
The fact that we play them three times this month works to our advantage. There shouldn't be any surprises in the third game and we should at least be able to get a draw.
Phil Sammon
8 Posted 07/01/2016 at 03:00:08
'Barry is one of England's greatest ever players.' Roberto Martinez

Even after a super victory, good old RM still manages to make me cringe.

Saegaran Kana
9 Posted 07/01/2016 at 03:09:42
Great result. Gutted for Seamus and Cleverly as they were just getting back to their game. Overall good morale booster for the team and they can beat anyone. COYB.
Terence Leong
10 Posted 07/01/2016 at 03:54:35
Only saw the highlights... the speed at which Navas came at us with, and all the way from the back, shows the threat they possess on the counter-attack.
Also shows that whenever the team loses the ball, the deepest player on the field has to start backpedalling quickly.

Would have preferred a clean sheet, but hey, being able to score two goals against City would be a psychological boost for the team.
Cos, the last time we put two past them, we still lost 3-2 (final game of the 2013-14 season).

It should give the team belief that we have goals in us to hurt City.

It's a good day today!

Brian Williams
11 Posted 07/01/2016 at 06:42:39
Best all round performance in a good while in my opinion.

I wouldn't knock Martinez too much for the Barry comment. Ok it's strictly speaking, not true, but he played a blinder. Thing with Barry is that he does an awful lot of really important things which aren't headline grabbers but if others had half his footballing brain we'd be an amazing team.
Have to mention Besic too. Outstanding on the night and added a different dimension to our play. Should start from now on until there's a reason not to start him. Lads got lots in his locker, vision, ability to find a pass, and when his "head's" under control a really good tackler!!

Ernie Baywood
12 Posted 07/01/2016 at 07:12:07
It's not true, Re Barry, but I'll bet if you asked for the top English players of the Premier League era he wouldn't get a mention. And he probably should! His career is up there isn't it?
Ian Jones
13 Posted 07/01/2016 at 08:34:40
Re Besic. Great performance. He cares about what's going on around him. His reaction to one of his misplaced passes in the first half said it all. Leader in the making perhaps?

Having only seen the game on TV I can't comment on the atmosphere at the ground but on TV it seemed quiet. Various reports indicate atmosphere was rocking. Could hear alot of noise from Man City fans. Makes you wonder if the noise our supporters make gets turned down.

Would be interested to know from supporters who went to the match what they thought of the overall atmosphere. It certainly didn't sound as if it was a 'bear-pit'

Keith Monaghan
14 Posted 07/01/2016 at 09:22:35
Phil Sammon - it may well be true that RM's statement re Barry was OTT, but, in spite of a bad spell following his month out with injury last season, he's been easily our best midfield player since coming on loan 2.5 seasons ago.
How I wish his and Barkley's ages could be swapped! RB made a crucial contribution with the first half-decent strike on goal he's had in ages, but that apart was largely ineffective - lazy, bad awareness, dwells too long on the ball so defenders get loads of time to get in position, most of his passes are backwards and never marks an opponent - Ali of Spurs is miles better - as is Besic too!
Harold Matthews
15 Posted 07/01/2016 at 09:57:41
Ian. Who cares about the atmosphere. We won 2-1.
Keith Conchie
16 Posted 07/01/2016 at 09:58:31
I went to the game last night, and I can assure you that our fans were in full voice through most of the game. Yet watching the highlights I from last night you would think it was only city fans making any noise. I don't know how they do that on tv or why?

Besic was incredible and I agree that he could be a future captian for us. Barkley got a bit of stick now and again for a few wasteful passes, but what I like about him is he's always trying to make something happen. He looks for a forward pass and runs at defender's. He just needs to sort out his final ball. But it was his shot from the edge of the box that lead to our first goal.

Martinez got the tactics spot on, and hopefully we can keep playing that way. Solid in defence and pacy going forward.

Also think Robles had a good game too, our defence looks more comfortable with him in goal and he's a lot more commanding in the box than Howard. Just wish he'd get his chance in the league.

Ernie Baywood
17 Posted 07/01/2016 at 10:19:17
Keith Monaghan, I like Besic but to say he's a better player than Barkley is stretching it. Besic is very good at what he does and could be excellent. But it's a fairly limited scope.

We're expecting Barkley to be something completely out of the ordinary.

Brent Stephens
18 Posted 07/01/2016 at 10:23:31
Besic and Barkley and totally different footballing animals and both types have a place in the side - Besic brings a defensive capability (with some offensive capability) that Barkley never will; Barkley brings no defensive capability but exudes something Besic can only dream of, with an ability to surge at defences who will back-track in fear. It's not either / or, but both.
Trevor Peers
19 Posted 07/01/2016 at 10:25:39
Great win, not perfect, but a massive improvement because we saw the game out and won.
We played some great football as well, congratulations to Roberto, he made the right changes and it paid off. Is our name is written on that cup !
Maybe January isn't going to be thee disaster some of us feared, we all love the blues, and are entitled to voice our concerns when things are looking grim.

Keith Monaghan
20 Posted 07/01/2016 at 10:28:34
Our first performance I've really enjoyed since the draw v. Palace.
Just hope the injuries aren't long term, especially Rom.
Robles did well with limited opportunity - think those in front of him look more confident with him in goal; Barry & Besic excellent, Rom not far behind & Baines looked more himself, & good to see Mori looking like he did in his early games - think he and Besic look like the sort of strong characters we need as well.
As well as Rom' obvious vastly improved hold-up and general play this season, I'm pleased to see he's starting to show more appetite and leadership - now looks a steal at £28M, and a much more complete player than Diego Costa - what a difference to a year ago!
Think if we can win this trophy it will make a big difference to us, both in the dressing room and in the stands.
Brent Stephens
21 Posted 07/01/2016 at 10:31:51
Ian #11 - it was much more of a bear-pit than usual. Great to experience it.
Brian Harrison
22 Posted 07/01/2016 at 11:03:17
First as regards the atmosphere after the first 15 minutes the crowd were great, the reason you don't hear it as much is because the gantry for the microphones are right above the away fans.
As for the match we played well created more chances than City, and if we had been more clinical in the final third could have had more than a 1 goal lead.

Lukaku looks a completely different player to last year, he is now a more complete player, he could always score goals but his all round play and first touch have improved dramatically. Seems like maybe Ferguson has helped with his improvement, but still most of the credit must go to the player. Quite often when young players are transferred for big money they think they have made it, so nice to see the improvement.
I don't normally agree with RM but his comments over Barry are spot on. Last season he wasnt at his best for whatever reason. but this season and his first season he has been terrific. For me he his our best and most consistent player, he must break up over 50% of opposition attacks and starts most of ours.

John Hughes
23 Posted 07/01/2016 at 11:20:20
There were two guys sat next to me Dutch Evertonians from Amsterdam who thought the fans were great and the atmosphere brilliant on the Lower Gwladys Street.I think the away support sounds more because they are under the gantry where the commentators are. But being a proud "Bitter Blue" I would not be surprised if the unbiased tv/media did not fiddle with the sound to our disadvantage or image! So there! COYB
Ian Jones
24 Posted 07/01/2016 at 12:32:28
Hi Harold. Certainly not complaining about a 2-1 win :) There was much said about the game before hand about the need for a raucous crowd and bear-pit atmosphere.

Obviously, not being at the ground, and watching it on TV, you don't get the true sense as to what is going on. However, Brian @ 20, and John @ 21 mention where the microphones are, and that explains it – bit of local knowledge is useful

Steve Carse
27 Posted 07/01/2016 at 16:17:05
The away fans being right up against the TV gantry is the key factor in the sound in live TV coverage. One thing I suspect the TV companies then do is to turn all noise volumes down. This means not only that the away support will still be picked up stronger than the home support but that the whole atmosphere will be muted.

It is always the same when there is a big away contingent in cup ties. Recall the Chelsea league cup semi a few years ago when the Everton support was every bit as good as last night, probably even better, but everyone commenting online, including absent Blues, bemoaned the fact that all they could hear was the Chelsea support and that the Blues support was an embarassment.

Considering Sky prides itself on their technical expertise and cutting edge technology and service provision it's disappointing that one of the key aspects of carrying 'the true match experience' into the living room often lets them down very badly.

John Hughes
28 Posted 07/01/2016 at 16:27:46
Don't worry, Ian, have been called a lot worse.
Tom Martin
29 Posted 07/01/2016 at 18:03:06
I thought the atmosphere was much better last night but not exactly a 'bear pit.' Still plenty of times that were pretty quiet. Jags mentioned THAT Fiorentina game in his programme notes.... now that was a bear pit!

I even think that the game against Sunderland when Howard got sent off was more raucous than last night. Not complaining at all as it was loud enough, just still not a patch on some other games over the years. In my opinion.

By the way, we definitely weren't out sung by the city fans. I thought they were pretty subdued.

Kim Vivian
30 Posted 07/01/2016 at 21:39:30
I would agree totally with Tom (#26).

My second visit to Goodison this season (Man City was the other, perchance). Great atmosphere last night and the noise good, but definitely not what I would call rocking. Something which I pointed out to my son a few times, so

There is a great clip on Everton's facebook site...

It would be great if this was continued in to the ground.

Tony Abrahams
31 Posted 07/01/2016 at 22:24:10
As usual, the media have control. I heard that near the end of Moyes's disaster at United, that Sky had to switch off most of the microphones in the ground, because of all the bad language coming from the stands.

Thought the atmosphere was very good, without ever being what I would call great. But if the team were to carry on playing like this, it wouldn't be long before opponents would hate, having to play at Goodison once again.

Tom Martin
32 Posted 07/01/2016 at 22:25:54
Kim I was there at half time... it was rocking! The same thing happened when we equalised before half time v the other lot. Non stop singing / dancing / throwing stuff in the air, for 20 minutes.

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