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Martinez critical of lacklustre Everton

Everton manager Roberto Martinez criticised his team for being in “pre-season mode” after they flirted with opening-day defeat to Premier League newcomers Watford.

Quique Sanchez Flores’ team took a 14th-minute lead against their lacklustre hosts at Goodison Park thanks to Miguel Layun’s first goal for the club.

Ross Barkley hit a spectacular 76th-minute leveller for Everton, who were forced to come from behind against four minutes from time as Arouna Kone cancelled out a strike from fellow substitute Odion Ighalo.

Martinez praised the application shown by his players during the second half, but lambasted an opening 45 minutes which handed the initiative to a Watford line-up containing six debutants.

“We saw two very different performances,” he said. “In the first-half performance, clearly we weren’t at the level of the speed, the tempo and the intensity that Watford had.

“Without knowing much about how these players would gel together, what we knew was we were facing a newly promoted side. That means that you bring enthusiasm, bravery and an incredible intensity that we had to match.

“In the first half you saw one team who had a pre-season mode and one team who had a competitive mode. From that point you cannot compete in this league.

“They had one shot on target, it ends up in the back of the net and you have a mountain to climb.”

He added: “The second half was completely different. That was clearly just a reaction of wanting to do something about it. The game changed a lot with the introduction of Arouna Kone and a couple of tactical switches.

“We became a little bit freer with what we did in front of goal and you can’t underestimate coming back twice in the game from behind. That’s something that pleases me.”

Sat 8 Aug, 2015
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