Roberto Martinez hails 'special' Romelu Lukaku
Published 07/12/2015 | 23:16
Everton manager Roberto Martinez praised the consistency of striker Romelu Lukaku after the striker's 50th goal in his 100th appearance rescued a point at home to Crystal Palace.
Scott Dann's header had given the visitors a 76th-minute lead but Lukaku, who had already hit the frame of the goal twice, converted from close range to make it 1-1 nine minutes from time.
The in-form Belgium striker has seven goals in his last six matches but his scoring spree has lasted much longer.
"Rom has been very consistent in the last 12 months, it is 26 or 27 goals in the calendar year - quite impressive," said Martinez.
"When you look at the overall development in the last 12 months, it makes you realise what a special footballer we have.
"It is not just talking about potential. We are talking about a goalscorer who can control the moment and see the importance of his role in the team.
"Romelu could have had a hat-trick and we created a lot of open chances against a team that is very good defensively."
Martinez refused to be downbeat about the concession of the Palace goal, which came from a corner when Gareth Barry lost Dann and he headed home.
"It is very easy to highlight the moment we conceded. I thought we were fantastic defensively until that point," added the Toffees boss.
"Remember Crystal Palace are not just good on the eye but very effective.
"They have pace and power and real good strength - the perfect combination to play away from home.
"The corner is a disappointment and that is more concentration that anything else. You drop that intensity in your marking and get done.
"Palace had never thrown away a one-goal lead before (this season) and I thought our focus was fantastic.
"For a young team to have that incredible personality and maturity to get in the other end and score is very pleasing."
Palace boss Alan Pardew admits they had to fight hard for the draw, although he felt things would have been easier had a penalty been given against Barry for pulling Mile Jedinak's shirt in the first half or for a Ramiro Funes Mori tackle on Jordon Mutch late on.
"I think the pull on the shirt was certainly a penalty," he said.
"The second one I think is a penalty as well. He has gone to ground. He has not won the ball and has clipped Mutch.
"I can't understand how he (referee Craig Pawson) has not see that from 12 yards.
"But we still can't moan about the result. It was two great teams in terms of commitment and effort.
"Sometimes you come across teams who not in the best form but Everton were at the top of their game and we had to hang on at times.
"It was great discipline from the team but it was a game that we could have won. We defended well and had chances on the break.
"A draw was a fair result and we are very pleased because it takes us to sixth place with a home game to come."