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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

'Capital Defeats Were The Catalyst'

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Roberto Martinez believes the frustration felt at losing two key games in February was the catalyst for Everton's charge towards the top four.

Narrow defeats at Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea came despite the Blues dominating for large spells of both matches.
 
Martinez's men subsequently went on a Club record Premier League run of seven straight wins, propelling them into a gripping battle with Arsenal for the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.

The Toffees face Southampton with the chance to move two points clear in fourth on Saturday lunchtime and Martinez believes the lessons learned from those previous disappointments is proving vital at this critical stage of the campaign.

He said: "I think we've learned from the experiences we've had this season. The games at White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge were two very hurtful defeats because in both we were the better side and performed really well.

"I think as a team you need to understand that when you do that and perform that well, you need to reflect it in the scoreline.

"And it's been pleasing to be able to get such a strong run and to get eight wins out of our last nine games shows a real winning mentality in the group.

"Clearly we've been better able to affect those small margins that affect the scorelines since those games."

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