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Everton were the better side – Martinez

Roberto Martinez defended Everton’s home record after they were beaten 3-2 by West Ham in their seventh Premier League defeat at Goodison Park this season.

Everton raced into a 2-0 lead through goals from Romelu Lukaku and Aaron Lennon, either side of Kevin Mirallas’ dismissal for two bookable first-half offences.

Lukaku then missed a penalty that would have put the game beyond doubt before West Ham pulled off a remarkable turnaround, scoring three times in the last 12 minutes through Michail Antonio, Diafra Sakho and Dimitri Payet to claim victory.

Despite their late capitulation, Martinez refused to criticise his players, saying: “I felt we were the better side. We created chances but more importantly we just nullified West Ham completely and we defended really well.

“We were presented with a very difficult game when Kevin Mirallas had the red card, but if you look at the way we adapted and the way we started the second half, the way that we work for each other with an incredible tactical knowledge, you wouldn’t be able to tell that West Ham had an extra man.

“The penalty was a big blow psychologically. He’s such a reliable footballer, Romelu Lukaku, that we were all probably a little bit shocked from that point.

“He created an incredible chance that only he can create with a one-vs-one situation, and those were two key moments. Psychologically, we gave them the hope when we didn’t score the third goal.”

The result left Everton 11th in the Premier League table, and Martinez admitted his side need to replicate their impressive away form on home turf if they are to fulfil their potential.

He said: “I am concerned about the number of defeats we’ve had at home. But when you analyse the performances we didn’t deserve the defeats.

“The Manchester United game [a 3-0 defeat in October] is the only one where we didn’t perform, but apart from that they have been strong performances where we have probably been punished heavily for small margins and different reasons.

“If you look at our away form, we have one defeat, and we are a team who can get points anywhere. At home we should be a team who at times get points without playing well. That’s where we need to get.”

Sat 5 Mar, 2016
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