Sport Soccer

Thursday 29 September 2016

Everton manager Roberto Martinez pleased to mark new era with victory

Published 01/03/2016 | 23:36

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, top, scored his 17th Premier League goal of the season
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, top, scored his 17th Premier League goal of the season

Roberto Martinez was pleased to start a new era with a win as Everton fans sang about their new-found wealth while Aston Villa supporters protested at the lack of investment in their club.

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Martinez also heaped praise on striker Romelu Lukaku following the win, saying the striker has "the world at his feet."

Everton are approaching an exciting time, after Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri bought a 49.9 per cent stake in the club, and are embarking on a bright new future with a talented young team who comfortably brushed aside Villa 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Their travelling contingent belted out renditions of "We're rich, we rich" but their home counterparts, after five years of decline under American owner Randy Lerner, staged a walk-out in protest after 74 minutes.

Upon their exit, signifying when Villa were founded in 1874, they had endured the best part of an 18th Barclays Premier League defeat of the season as goals from Ramiro Funes Mori, Aaron Lennon and Romelu Lukaku had Everton firmly in control.

Some had chosen to leave following Lukaku's strike on the hour and many of those who remained joined them after 74 minutes, angry at the club's lack of direction as Villa look certain to drop into the Sky Bet Championship.

They missed substitute Rudy Gestede head a reply shortly afterwards but it was far too little, too late.

"It is (nice to start with a victory) and it's been a significant week," said Martinez.

"We've been talking about it a lot but it is important and there's been excitement throughout the fans and everyone at (training ground) Finch Farm.

"It's nice to welcome our new partner at the football club with a win and a positive feeling and I'm sure he'll be delighted with the performance."

Along the way, Lukaku scored a club-record 17th Premier League goal of the season and Martinez is delighted with how the striker has continued his development this season.

"His goal was a really pleasing moment because it means a lot but I'm more pleased about the responsibility he's developing this season," said Martinez.

"Rom is still a very young man, we forget he's still only 22, but I think the way he's developed as an individual has been terrific and the responsibility he's developed this season.

"The goalscoring has always been one of the biggest strengths for Rom but to see him growing in terms of what he does for the team is very pleasing.

"I felt his overall contribution was very good and I'm delighted for him to reach that level and I know from now until the end of the season he has that incredible focus to get that figure bigger as much as he can. But at 22 the world is clearly at his feet."

It was another morale-sapping defeat for Villa, who despite this latest loss still remain eight points adrift of safety at the bottom of the table.

Asked about the protest from Villa fans, manager Remi Garde said: "I'm not too comfortable with this. I'm not in a position here long enough to assess the behaviour of everyone.

"I respect totally the fans as part of this football club but I have to respect as well my position and the people who put me in this position.

"I will focus my energy on trying to get the points we need. This is my job, to try to keep the players with as much confidence as I can and we need to stay together in this difficult situation.

"It's difficult to find the right words but then we always have to find the resources deep inside, everybody has to do that."

Press Association

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