Everton manager Roberto Martinez praised referee Lee Mason after striker Arouna Kone allegedly suffered racist abuse in the FA Cup fourth-round win over Carlisle United.
Kone put the visitors ahead after just two minutes at Brunton Park and both he and team-mate Steven Pienaar appeared upset by some shouts from the crowd as they celebrated.
A tannoy announcement warned supporters against abusive language and Cumbria police put out a statement shortly afterwards to appeal for members of the crowd to report any incidents of racist behaviour they may have heard.
Mason made the decision to issue the announcement after consultation with Martinez and Carlisle boss Keith Curle, and the Spaniard was full of praise for the officials’ handling of events.
“I thought it was dealt with in a good manner,” he said after the match to BT Sport. “Straight away the Carlisle manager Keith Curle and myself, we agreed to make an announcement.
“I thought the referee dealt with that well. The worry was it would be a 90 minutes of abuse but it was just a reaction to a goal being celebrated.”
Racism will not be tolerated in Cumbria. Anyone with information on any racist chanting at the @officialcufc game please report it to 101
— Cumbria Police (@Cumbriapolice) January 31, 2016
Curle insisted the club will identify those responsible and urged fans to come forward with any information, saying: “It’s not what we want inside our club, inside football or inside society.
“The club will make all the efforts – I know they’ve got stewards and CCTV. The football club will not stop to identify who it was.
“[It was the] ref’s decision to do the tannoy announcement, to highlight it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. If you heard anything please step forward and identify who was responsible.”
Further goals from Aaron Lennon and Ross Barkley sealed a comfortable win for Everton and Martinez was delighted with the approach of his players against their League Two opposition.
“We knew that you can allow these games to be very complicated,” he said. “I thought we dealt with it with an incredible professionalism and a great effectiveness in front of goal. The start of the game allowed us to control the rest of it.
“It was a great footballing occasion. The fourth round of the FA Cup always brings excitement. I thought we played well and controlled the threat that Carlisle can bring. We scored three goals, created good chances and overall we deserved it and look forward to the draw [for the fifth round on Sunday].”
Martinez later confirmed to the media that Aiden McGeady is set to join a Championship club on loan.
“It seems very close,” he added. “We’ve agreed terms with two teams in the Championship. It’s just a matter of time before one of the deals is clinched.”
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