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Everton must plan without Barkley

A SHADOW was cast over the start of Everton's season by a knee injury to key midfielder Ross Barkley.

The club are still waiting to find out the extent of the damage but manager Roberto Martinez fears he could be missing for months.

The Spaniard was content with how his side responded to going down at the King Power Stadium, bar the lapse of concentration that allowed Chris Wood to earn Leicester a point in the 2-2 draw.

"That's football," said Martinez of Barkley's absence.

"You're going to get injuries, you're going to get suspensions and what we need to do is make sure we react as a team, and I think we did that.

"I thought Romelu Lukaku to play 90 minutes was phenomenal, he didn't have the right to play 90 minutes and he showed he's going to get fit very quickly.

"I think everyone contributed. Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar showed flashes of their very best understanding, the control from Gareth Barry and James McCarthy was back to the level of last season, and Aiden McGeady (inset) is a fresh player.

"The back four looked too comfortable, and that was the problem. If I would have been sitting here with a victory, it would have been a great start to the season."

Meanwhile, Leicester boss Nigel Pearson has no doubt Leonardo Ulloa can handle the pressure of expectation.

The Argentinian striker marked his debut with a well-taken goal as Leicester began life back in the top flight.

Ulloa harried the Everton defence throughout, and Pearson said of the 28-year-old: "I think he showed a lot of qualities."

Ulloa's goal cancelled out Aiden McGeady's opener less than two minutes after Everton had taken the lead.

The Toffees went back ahead just before half-time through Steven Naismith but Leicester got a point four minutes from time.


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