Martinez: My Most Satisfying Win
Martinez thrilled with comeback win over Aston Villa
Roberto Martinez described Everton’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa as the most satisfying result of his Goodison Park reign.
The Blues looked destined for a second straight league defeat until Steven Naismith’s cool finish and Kevin Mirallas’ precise free-kick five minutes before the end completed a courageous turnaround win.
With Tottenham held to a 1-1 away draw at Hull City, the win lifted Everton back into fifth place.
“From our point of view it was the most satisfying win of the season,” Martinez said. “I couldn’t be more proud of that second-half display.
“You could see in the first half that we were very cagey and not our normal self. We didn’t get on the ball and have the fluency that we normally have.
“When you get a situation where you hit the post and then concede a goal, it becomes a test of character. I thought the way we reacted in the second half was one of the most pleasing aspects you can have as a manager.
“We were more concerned about the tactical aspect in the first half rather than enjoying our performance. Once we freed ourselves and adjusted in the second half and tried to be ourselves, we showed that we are a team that never accepts defeat.
“We have an incredible knack of facing adversity with football in the right way. I thought we created enough chances to win the game, but to win it with that moment of brilliance from Kevin in a deadball situation makes it even more pleasing.
“We can get excited about the end of the season after that performance.”
In the absence of the injured Romelu Lukaku, Martinez pushed Mirallas further up the field in a more central attacking role.
The Belgian produced a typically tireless performance and his manager felt that his match-winning strike was a deserved reward for an afternoon of persistence.
He added: “Kevin found it frustrating because he was [constantly] surrounded by Aston Villa players. You could see that the way Aston Villa were set up they were trying to stop him and us really high up the pitch.
“Kevin worked extremely hard without getting any joy but the way he took that free-kick showed that he is a player who is ready to control moments when you can win a game. It shows you his character.”