Roberto Martinez hailed his team's character and the backing of a raucous Goodison Park crowd as Everton hit back after seeing their first-half lead wiped out by Jesus Navas to win the first leg of this Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester City.
The Blues were leading at the break thanks to Ramiro Funes Mori's goal in stoppage time at the end of the first period but they suffered a set-back at the interval when Tom Cleverley had to be substituted and replaced by Leon Osman because of injury. Martinez's men were ahead going into the final quarter of an hour but were caught on the counter-attack and Navas tucked home Sergio Aguero's pass that made it 1-1.
Everton were back in front almost immediately, however, when Romelu Lukaku scored his 12th goal in as many games with a close-range header off Barry's pin-point cross from the left flank. The Belgian had picked up an ankle injury a couple of minutes beforehand and had to be replaced by Arouna Kone just minutes before Seamus Coleman hobbled off leaving the Toffees to see out the remainder of the game with 10 men.
"We knew the first leg was going to be a difficult challenge but also an incredible footballing occasion," Martinez told Sky Sports after the match. "I thought Goodison Park was rocking and the atmosphere was terrific.
"But the character that we showed was incredible; that's probably the most important aspect of the performance. We had to cope with losing Tom Cleverley at half time through an injury and then Romelu Lukaku picked up a knock in his ankle and then we have to end the game with 10 players.
"For that period, to be able to manage the game... We kept the ball well and, overall, the reaction to conceding and never conceding 'defeat' was very pleasing."
The Catalan was cautious about going overboard despite the impressive nature of his team's performance and the advantage they will take to the Etihad Stadium later this month, though.
"It means nothing; it's the first leg. We had to win our first game and now we'll have to prepare for a very interesting second leg."
Reader Comments (28)
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1 Posted 06/01/2016 at 23:31:34
2 Posted 06/01/2016 at 23:35:04
3 Posted 06/01/2016 at 23:49:16
What an atmosphere, if only it could be like that more often.
I give credit where it's due, he got it right tonight Martinez, our play was consistent throughout and we got the win we craved.
Seeing City tonight, my verdict is they are beatable, this is do-able, we can hurt them and psychologically they will know that too now!
4 Posted 06/01/2016 at 23:49:42
6 Posted 07/01/2016 at 01:27:03
8 Posted 07/01/2016 at 03:00:08
Even after a super victory, good old RM still manages to make me cringe.
9 Posted 07/01/2016 at 03:09:42
10 Posted 07/01/2016 at 03:54:35
Also shows that whenever the team loses the ball, the deepest player on the field has to start backpedalling quickly.
Would have preferred a clean sheet, but hey, being able to score two goals against City would be a psychological boost for the team.
Cos, the last time we put two past them, we still lost 3-2 (final game of the 2013-14 season).
It should give the team belief that we have goals in us to hurt City.
It's a good day today!
11 Posted 07/01/2016 at 06:42:39
I wouldn't knock Martinez too much for the Barry comment. Ok it's strictly speaking, not true, but he played a blinder. Thing with Barry is that he does an awful lot of really important things which aren't headline grabbers but if others had half his footballing brain we'd be an amazing team.
Have to mention Besic too. Outstanding on the night and added a different dimension to our play. Should start from now on until there's a reason not to start him. Lads got lots in his locker, vision, ability to find a pass, and when his "head's" under control a really good tackler!!
12 Posted 07/01/2016 at 07:12:07
13 Posted 07/01/2016 at 08:34:40
Having only seen the game on TV I can't comment on the atmosphere at the ground but on TV it seemed quiet. Various reports indicate atmosphere was rocking. Could hear alot of noise from Man City fans. Makes you wonder if the noise our supporters make gets turned down.
Would be interested to know from supporters who went to the match what they thought of the overall atmosphere. It certainly didn't sound as if it was a 'bear-pit'
14 Posted 07/01/2016 at 09:22:35
How I wish his and Barkley's ages could be swapped! RB made a crucial contribution with the first half-decent strike on goal he's had in ages, but that apart was largely ineffective - lazy, bad awareness, dwells too long on the ball so defenders get loads of time to get in position, most of his passes are backwards and never marks an opponent - Ali of Spurs is miles better - as is Besic too!
15 Posted 07/01/2016 at 09:57:41
16 Posted 07/01/2016 at 09:58:31
Besic was incredible and I agree that he could be a future captian for us. Barkley got a bit of stick now and again for a few wasteful passes, but what I like about him is he's always trying to make something happen. He looks for a forward pass and runs at defender's. He just needs to sort out his final ball. But it was his shot from the edge of the box that lead to our first goal.
Martinez got the tactics spot on, and hopefully we can keep playing that way. Solid in defence and pacy going forward.
Also think Robles had a good game too, our defence looks more comfortable with him in goal and he's a lot more commanding in the box than Howard. Just wish he'd get his chance in the league.
17 Posted 07/01/2016 at 10:19:17
We're expecting Barkley to be something completely out of the ordinary.
18 Posted 07/01/2016 at 10:23:31
19 Posted 07/01/2016 at 10:25:39
We played some great football as well, congratulations to Roberto, he made the right changes and it paid off. Is our name is written on that cup !
Maybe January isn't going to be thee disaster some of us feared, we all love the blues, and are entitled to voice our concerns when things are looking grim.
20 Posted 07/01/2016 at 10:28:34
Just hope the injuries aren't long term, especially Rom.
Robles did well with limited opportunity - think those in front of him look more confident with him in goal; Barry & Besic excellent, Rom not far behind & Baines looked more himself, & good to see Mori looking like he did in his early games - think he and Besic look like the sort of strong characters we need as well.
As well as Rom' obvious vastly improved hold-up and general play this season, I'm pleased to see he's starting to show more appetite and leadership - now looks a steal at £28M, and a much more complete player than Diego Costa - what a difference to a year ago!
Think if we can win this trophy it will make a big difference to us, both in the dressing room and in the stands.
21 Posted 07/01/2016 at 10:31:51
22 Posted 07/01/2016 at 11:03:17
As for the match we played well created more chances than City, and if we had been more clinical in the final third could have had more than a 1 goal lead.
Lukaku looks a completely different player to last year, he is now a more complete player, he could always score goals but his all round play and first touch have improved dramatically. Seems like maybe Ferguson has helped with his improvement, but still most of the credit must go to the player. Quite often when young players are transferred for big money they think they have made it, so nice to see the improvement.
I don't normally agree with RM but his comments over Barry are spot on. Last season he wasnt at his best for whatever reason. but this season and his first season he has been terrific. For me he his our best and most consistent player, he must break up over 50% of opposition attacks and starts most of ours.
23 Posted 07/01/2016 at 11:20:20
24 Posted 07/01/2016 at 12:32:28
Obviously, not being at the ground, and watching it on TV, you don't get the true sense as to what is going on. However, Brian @ 20, and John @ 21 mention where the microphones are, and that explains it bit of local knowledge is useful
27 Posted 07/01/2016 at 16:17:05
It is always the same when there is a big away contingent in cup ties. Recall the Chelsea league cup semi a few years ago when the Everton support was every bit as good as last night, probably even better, but everyone commenting online, including absent Blues, bemoaned the fact that all they could hear was the Chelsea support and that the Blues support was an embarassment.
Considering Sky prides itself on their technical expertise and cutting edge technology and service provision it's disappointing that one of the key aspects of carrying 'the true match experience' into the living room often lets them down very badly.
28 Posted 07/01/2016 at 16:27:46
29 Posted 07/01/2016 at 18:03:06
I even think that the game against Sunderland when Howard got sent off was more raucous than last night. Not complaining at all as it was loud enough, just still not a patch on some other games over the years. In my opinion.
By the way, we definitely weren't out sung by the city fans. I thought they were pretty subdued.
30 Posted 07/01/2016 at 21:39:30
My second visit to Goodison this season (Man City was the other, perchance). Great atmosphere last night and the noise good, but definitely not what I would call rocking. Something which I pointed out to my son a few times, so
There is a great clip on Everton's facebook site...
It would be great if this was continued in to the ground.
31 Posted 07/01/2016 at 22:24:10
Thought the atmosphere was very good, without ever being what I would call great. But if the team were to carry on playing like this, it wouldn't be long before opponents would hate, having to play at Goodison once again.
32 Posted 07/01/2016 at 22:25:54
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