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

Martinez Happy To Extend Run

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Roberto Martinez was thrilled to see Everton rack up their eighth successive home win - despite conceding his team were below their best in overcoming Swansea to move up to fifth in the Barclays Premier League standings.

The Blues chalked up eight straight Goodison Park victories for the first time since the 1985/86 season as goals from Leighton Baines, Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley ensured a 3-2 triumph.

And Martinez said: "I'm really pleased because we faced a difficult test and to get the all-important three points is a fantastic feeling.

"At this stage of the season it's about winning football matches and using all your experiences from during the season to get the small margins that matter.

"Without being at our most stylish or our very best, to get a win was very important. Eight straight wins at home since the Sunderland defeat is a phenomenal achievement and I'm pleased because it reflects what we've got in the squad and allows us to look forward to the next nine fixtures we've got ahead of us."

Ashley Williams ensured a tense finish by crashing home an injury-time header after Wilfried Bony had earlier pulled Swansea level on the stroke of half-time.

"We started the game well but I thought Swansea finished the first half stronger and deserved to equalise," said Martinez. "We allowed their possession to be a real danger. But at the start of the second half we had a real intent, a real intensity and we got ourselves a two-goal lead.

"To concede late on from a set piece leaves a bad taste because I don't think Tim Howard deserved that. In a couple of moments in the second half, Tim was really bright and sharp and at the level he's been at all season.

"I wish Swansea all the luck in the world and I have no doubt they will get the points to achieve their aims this season, but both teams needed the win today and it was important for us to get those three points."

As well as grabbing the decisive goal - his first in the league since netting at the Liberty Stadium in December - Barkley turned in a bustling, all-action display, also winning the penalty from which Baines netted the first.

And Martinez added: "For Ross Barkley and John Stones, I thought it was a phenomenal test for them.

"Ross Barkley showed a real understanding and a real tactical awareness against one of the best teams at keeping possession in the league.

"The way he won the penalty, the way he was able to work in and around that area, it was really pleasing."

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