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Crystal Palace (A) Sat 31 Jan 2015, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Boss: Win Exhibits Squad Strength

@Everton

Roberto Martinez says the manner in which Everton progressed into the FA Cup fourth round emphasises just how much strength in depth there is in the first-team playing squad.

The Spaniard refreshed his team against Queens Park Rangers by making five changes from the draw at Stoke City three days’ earlier.

Martinez was able to shuffle his pack to this extent even though he was again without the injured Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and Gerard Deulofeu, plus long-term absentees Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone.

And even with these alterations, Everton had no problems brushing aside a team currently fighting for promotion back to the top-flight.

So resounding was the win, the Blues enjoyed 63 per cent possession and showered the visitors’ goal with 27 shots over the course of the 90 minutes.

Martinez told evertontv: “We had big senior players out of the side. When that role is fulfilled by youngsters it is important they do it with responsibility and enjoy their football, and I thought that was the case.

“Joel Robles came in with Bryan Oviedo, and there was the partnership with John Stones and Antolin Alcaraz. Everyone fitted into the team structure and looked like they had been playing together for a long time. That’s down to the players and how they work on a daily basis and how they know each other’s game.

“It’s the competition for places that we need. That strength in the squad will allow us to have a confident outlook and we have got a lot of people who we can rely on.”

Fans leaving Goodison after the full-time whistle will have returned home with enhanced belief that this could be the year Everton lift the FA Cup for the first time since 1995.

Martinez agreed the signs were encouraging but stressed that the Blues have only made the first step in what will hopefully be a successful six-stage adventure.  

“We always work towards perfection but there is a long way to go and we want to keep developing,” he said.

“The pleasing aspect is that there are sensational signs – the way we are playing in the final third, the way we are controlling games and the youngsters fulfilling big roles.

“But football is very simple. We move on from here, enjoy the draw and then concentrate on the Norwich game. We will take every game as it comes.”

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