Thursday, July 27, 2017

Martinez: Semi-final loss hard to take for Everton

SoccerNews in FA Cup 23 Apr 2016

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Under-fire Everton manager Roberto Martinez found it hard to swallow his team’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United after Anthony Martial struck decisively in stoppage time.

Returning to action after their chastening 4-0 Merseyside derby loss against Liverpool, Everton still appeared to be feeling the effects as they were second best for much of the first hour.

Marouane Fellaini opened the scoring for United against his former club before Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, whose scoring touch deserted him throughout the match at Wembley, had a 57th-minute penalty saved by David De Gea.

That near miss galvanised Martinez’s men and they pressed forward to deservedly equalise through a Chris Smalling own-goal.

Everton appeared the more likely winners despite the wayward Lukaku before Martial created and finished superbly three minutes into injury time.

“It is a hard result to take,” Martinez told BBC Sport. “Over the 90 minutes we at least deserved the right to go into extra time.

“We were a little sluggish in the first half but we got the equaliser but to concede in injury time is a blow nobody deserved.

“I thought the fight we showed was really strong, a team with incredible togetherness.

“The support we had behind us was terrific. We coped with the tough period in the first half and we were strong mentally to cope. 

“The longer the game went on, the bigger chance we had. The game was going our way, the chances were coming and I felt we were the stronger team.

“It is tough to lose a semi-final because the feeling is a very undeserved feeling. If you are going to lose a tie that is the way you lose it, creating chances and in the second half we were the better side.”

Questions increased over Martinez’s long-term future at Everton following their Anfield debacle but the former Wigan Athletic boss was pleased by the response his players produced.

“There was no comparison between today [Saturday] and Anfield,” he added.

“Everything that could go wrong did go wrong but [this] was the opposite. We reacted with an incredible fight and togetherness.

“The performance was a typical Everton response.”

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