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Published: 10:18 | 7/1/16

Martinez hails Everton's character


Everton manager Roberto Martinez was delighted with the steel shown by his side as they produced a brilliant first leg display to beat Manchester City 2-1 at Goodison Park.

Everton, who lost both Tom Cleverly and Romelu Lukaku to injury, ended the game with ten men when Seamus Coleman was forced off with injury after they made all three subs, but they held on for the win and Martinez was duly impressed with his side’s endeavour.

"Goodison Park was rocking. The character we showed was incredible. We had to cope with losing Tom Cleverly and Lukaku got a knock and we finished with 10 men. The reaction after conceding was excellent.

"It means nothing. It is the first leg we had to win and now we prepare for a very interesting second leg,” said Martinez.

"The first goal was a terrific delivery from the corner and we reacted quicker to the second ball. The goal was coming, we had a strong period."

The Everton boss held special praise for match-winner Lukaku who he believes is among the best strikers in the world this season.

“The stats are there to back any assessment of Lukaku, from our point of view he has always been the perfect striker for our football club. He is a young boy, he wants to be the best in the world."

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, on the other hand, was furious with the officials after they failed to flag Lukaku for offside in the build-up to the first goal and also waived away a big penalty claim from Jesus Navas.

"He is offside for the goal," said the City boss. “Unbelievable the referee or linesman did not give offside.

"Also it was a clear penalty for Jesus Navas - they were two very important decisions. It is a foul inside the box, A clear penalty.

"It was important to level at the moment we did, we were playing better, but Lukaku is a great striker and scored a great header.

"They scored a goal that was absolutely offside and in the second half we had a clear penalty. We have just played 90 minutes and it was very important not to concede another goal."

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