Martinez highlights fans’ role in team performance at DW Stadium
Roberto Martinez had spoken prior to Latics’ game against Everton about the vital role the supporters had in helping the team turn a corner after three consecutive league defeats.
Having then watched his side produce an energetic, enterprising, determined and brave display against one of the Barclays Premier League’s in-form teams against the backdrop of a rocking DW Stadium, the Spaniard expressed his pride of how a collective club effort brought about an important result when it mattered most.
He said: “The negative thoughts we had collected over recent weeks were blown away by our fans who were tremendous.
“It’s a shame we only got one point but it’s an important point backed up with a performance that will allow us to build on and improve.
“It would have been very easy in the second-half to have allowed Everton to come back strong and take all three points.
“But the fans stayed strong for us and created a hostile environment for the opposition to play in; they were colourful and magnificent for our players.
“It was one of those days when you stop to take a look around the stadium and feel proud of how far we’ve come, and now we’ll cool down, realise how good the performance was that the players produced and make sure the point is an important one going forwards.”
Analysing the game itself, Martinez admitted to being disappointed with the goals conceded by his team, but was massively encouraged by their overall display, explaining:
“There’s a feeling of disappointment because we conceded so late in the game, but I’m very pleased with the performance of the team.
“The first-half saw an excellent game of football that we were the better side in, controlling Everton and creating very good chances.
“If there’s any criticism then it’s for the way we defended in the build-up to Everton’s first equaliser; we’re better than that and apart from that goal we looked really solid at the back.
“Our play showed invention and real variety with Shaun Maloney, Arouna Kone and Franco Di Santo playing at such a high level and looking very dangerous whenever they were in the final third.
“Everton are a team playing with real confidence and momentum, but we matched their intensity and in the second-half we coped with their pressure really well.
“We needed that two-goal cushion and we had chances before their late penalty, but overall it’s a performance that will kick start our season, playing the bigger role in the first-half and then in the second showing signs of how tough we can be, which is very pleasing.”
The forward partnership between Franco Di Santo and Arouna Kone goes from strength to strength with both players picking up their third goal of the campaign during the game, the Ivorian setting up Di Santo after he himself has been teed up by another threat up-front Shaun Maloney.
The Gaffer believes the trio led by example and looked like beating Tim Howard whenever they broke into the final third.
He said: “The partnership and link-up play between the attackers was impressive and they’ve got a real mix of style and power which creates problems for any side.
“Their play was a real highlight in the first-half, whenever we got into a dangerous position they looked like scoring and it’s a real strength to have that kind of threat in your play.
“Franco is still recovering from his injury, but was desperately trying to get through 90 minutes after the injury picked up at Old Trafford, and he picked up one or two knocks during the game but nothing serious.
“I thought he showed incredible energy and levels in his play, lasting 70 minutes and will recover now to be fully for the next game against Swansea City.
“Now we need to make sure we’re better in other departments because I thought the three points were there for us to win and now’s a chance for us to get rid of the final international break before a good block of work in the calendar.
“We set ourselves a good level to aim for and let’s hope this is the start of some success of the coming weeks.”