Thursday 29 September 2016

Lukaku's threat pleases Martinez after he scores for seventh successive match

Published 12/12/2015 | 16:11

Everton manager Roberto Martinez, pictured, felt Romelu Lukaku could have scored more than one goal against Norwich
Everton manager Roberto Martinez, pictured, felt Romelu Lukaku could have scored more than one goal against Norwich

Everton boss Roberto Martinez praised the threat of Romelu Lukaku despite ruing the striker's failure to secure three points at Norwich.

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Lukaku became the first Everton player to score for a seventh successive game in 40 years, but spurned further chances in a first half the visitors dominated and Wes Hoolahan equalised in a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road.

"That's where you judge a striker. It's the amount of threat that he carries," Martinez said.

"I thought the clear cut chances he produced is a very positive sign. On another day he would have scored four goals, or a hat-trick.

"It's been another top performance from him. It's just making sure he keeps creating chances, because it's very rare that he's not going to convert more than the one he did today."

Lukaku has scored in six straight Premier League games, closing in on Jamie Vardy's new record of netting in 11 successive games. Leicester are the Toffees' next opposition.

But Martinez would swap it all for a clean sheet after one shut-out in the last 10 in the Premier League, with Everton's defending again culpable in Hoolahan's leveller two minutes into the second half.

"I would swap any record just to try to keep a clean sheet," Martinez added.

"As a team we know we've got incredible individuals. Probably some of the best young players in European football.

"What we need to do is become a team that can control games and make sure we finish with a win, rather than just performing well and dropping points.

"Overall the performance leaves you with a feeling of disappointment, because that should have been a three point performance."

John Stones damaged an ankle in the warm-up and appeared to twist his knee during the first half - but there is no cause for concern.

Martinez added: "He didn't want to come off. I thought he was magnificent."

Norwich manager Alex Neil felt his side had "polar opposite" performances either side of half-time, when he expressed his displeasure to his players.

"Everton could have been leading 2-0 or 3-0 at half-time. We were fortunate it was only 1-0," Neil said.

"I thought the intensity of our game was poor and I thought once they scored their goal, you could sense a bit of unrest among the fans and that bled into the players. They looked a bit timid and a bit scared to go and express themselves.

"That wasn't good enough first half. I wasn't best pleased.

"We had a good discussion in terms of what's acceptable and all the questions I posed to them at half-time they came out and answered.

"The only way thing that changed was the way the players attacked the game. Tactically nothing changed."

The change which saw Andre Wisdom go off at half-time was prompted by a hamstring injury, but his replacement Ryan Bennett had a key role in the equaliser - h is header from Robbie Brady's corner led to Hoolahan's equaliser.

Then came Jerome's missed chance.

"We definitely had opportunities where we could have gone on to win it," Neil added.

Press Association

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