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Martinez revels in dramatic ´kickstart´ triumph

Roberto Martinez hopes Saturday’s last-minute victory over Newcastle United can serve to “kickstart” Everton’s season after an inconsistent first half of 2015-16.

The Merseyside club triumphed 1-0 at St James’ Park thanks to Tom Cleverley’s 93rd-minute header, ending a run of four matches without a win.

Everton have shown plenty of promise and looked dangerous on numerous occasions throughout the campaign, but have struggled for consistency and sit ninth after 18 matches.

Martinez, though, is hopeful that the euphoria of snatching all three points, right at the death and away from home, will prove a major boost to his team.

“To get it [the win] with the last kick of the game feels, emotionally, a better win,” he told the BBC. 

“This win is a real kickstart in our season.”

As for Cleverley himself, Martinez was effusive in his praise and also directed a pointed barb at the midfielder’s former clubs, Manchester United and Aston Villa.

“As a player you always get an incredible feeling when you hit the back of the net, especially so late,” Martinez added. 

“It was a terrific, terrific performance individually. He deserves to grab that headline for the team.

“He’s an outstanding player who I don’t think has been given the right approach in the last two or three seasons.”

England international Ross Barkley was withdrawn in the 69th minute as a precaution, while the manager also offered a warning ahead of the home game against Mark Hughes’ Stoke City on Monday.

“Barkley was brilliant,” Martinez said. “I brought him off because he had a slight knock and was on a yellow card.

“It will be very difficult against Stoke. Two games in three days is an incredible ask.”

Sat 26 Dec, 2015
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