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

Traore Debut Encourages Martinez


Roberto Martinez says Lacina Traore’s debut goal against Swansea City was a deserved reward for the Ivorian’s efforts to get himself match fit.

The giant striker was nursing a hamstring injury when he completed his loan switch from AS Monaco last month and has been working tirelessly with the Club’s medical department and coaching staff to get back to peak condition.

Martinez handed Traore a first Everton appearance in Sunday’s FA Cup tie and he marked the occasion by opening the scoring inside four minutes of the 3-1 win.

“I was really pleased,” the Spaniard told evertontv. “I think he has been working really hard behind the scenes to allow himself to get fully fit.

“It was the perfect game for a striker to come in and get tested. It was Premier League opposition and you know that Swansea are going to test the discipline and concentration of the forward line because they play from the back. I thought Lacina took on board all the instructions and responsibility and so I was very pleased with that.

“You can see he is a completely different type of player than what we have got in the squad – he has real pace to burn, movement in the box and a clinical finish. Overall it’s a nice positive sign.”

Traore completed an hour of action on Sunday and left to a standing ovation from the Goodison crowd when he was replaced in the second half by Steven Naismith.

Martinez says the next week will now be spent preparing the frontman for what could be his Premier League bow at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.

He said: “To see Lacina play 60 minutes in these circumstances is a real achievement and he led the line really well.

“I’m really excited and pleased for him, and now we have to get him in a position to recover so he can help the team next week.”

Everton are next in action at Goodison Park against West Ham United on Saturday 1 March. Click here to get your tickets now.

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