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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Roberto Martinez refused to be downbeat despite seeing his side slip to a 3-1 pre-season friendly defeat against Celta Vigo.

Aiden McGeady's early strike was cancelled out by a first-half Nolito hat-trick as the Blues were beaten at Tranmere Rovers' Prenton Park.

Martinez, however, was pleased with the intensity showed by his side as they took another step towards being ready for their Premier League opener on 16 August.

"It was a tough test," Martinez told evertontv. "It was one of those exercises where we got the benefit of testing different things and seeing the fitness levels of the players.

"They played as we expected; they pressed us really high up and we wanted to take advantage of that and make sure we could test them.

"We gave a couple of goals away, which is something we need to shape and polish and use as an advantage.

"All in all, I thought the tempo and physicality was really consistent through the 90 minutes and sometimes it's difficult to get that in a pre-season friendly."

Martinez was able to give more minutes to new signing Muhamed Besic, while Darron Gibson returned after missing Sunday's 1-1 draw with FC Porto.

Skipper Phil Jagielka and winger Steven Pienaar both sat out the clash, though the Toffees chief allayed any fears over the duo's fitness.

He said: "Phil and Stevie were involved on Sunday at Goodison and it was always the plan to work through the week and make sure they are ready for the game in Germany [against SC Paderborn] on Saturday."


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