Roberto Martinez has been impressed with the energy his Everton players are showing off the ball just as much as the quality they are displaying on it.
Speaking to evertontv, the Blues manager was in buoyant mood after his side stepped up their preparations for the new Premier League campaign with their third straight pre-season victory on Wednesday evening in San Francisco.
Everton had defeated Accrington and Blackburn prior to their penalty shootout triumph over the current Scudetto holders Juventus.
Kevin Mirallas notched for the third game on the bounce at the AT&T Stadium and Martinez said the performance of the Belgian typified the effort his players have been displaying since returning from their summer breaks.
“Kevin has shown a really sharp touch throughout pre-season,” Martinez told evertontv. “I thought today he was always a threat and he brings that counter-attacking option.
“He worked extremely hard for the team and I would highlight that – the way the players have put in a real shift for each individual and become a really strong side.
“Kevin, Victor Anichebe and Steven Pienaar led the line from the front and they worked extremely hard throughout the game.
“Kevin grabbed the real reward with the goal. It was a good goal from open play – when you score goals from open play against Juventus it’s because you are doing things well.”
Leighton Baines returned to the fold against Juventus after missing Saturday’s outing at Ewood Park.
The full-back had been struggling with a hip injury but Martinez revealed that the full-back was desperate to test himself against the two-time Champions League winners.
Martinez added: “Leighton Baines was the only one who was carrying a bit of a knock and it shows what an individual he is in wanting to be part of the team and be involved. He played much longer than I anticipated.
“It’s been really good to see all the work the players have been putting in day in day out. They are developing a good volume and when you get days like this you can show high intensity. Leighton was a clear example of that.”
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