Everton boss Roberto Martinez hails Norwich City’s bravery
07:15 13 January 2014
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Roberto Martinez admired Norwich’s ‘brave’ approach but the Everton chief never felt his side were under serious threat at Goodison Park.
Chris Hughton opted to deploy both Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel in tandem on Merseyside but the Canaries’ front two had to forage for little real reward with the Spaniard’s slick side dominating possession.
“Norwich were very brave in their approach playing two up front like that to try and pin us back,” he said. “I thought it was going to be a very difficult game and it proved to be. The amount of opportunities we had, probably that clinical touch in front of goal was the difference. Norwich had a proper go in the second half, but we defended well and kept a really important clean sheet. I’m very pleased. It could have been a very tricky game for us because obviously at home you feel like you have to concentrate on what you do on the ball and your attacking play. I thought we were very good with that and some of the aspects of our play were magnificent.”
Martinez was wary of Norwich’s set piece threat.
“With these type of games, you can leave yourself exposed and you can drop your level of concentration defensively but we were at our best in that department,” he said. “You have to be careful in dead-ball situations, but I thought we controlled the game well and got three well deserved, and very important points. It was an entertaining game and important to score that second goal and I couldn’t be happier with the clean sheet. That was very satisfying. The way we handled the second half was pleasing.
“The understanding between the players is clear, we are getting really strong. We made six changes from the FA Cup game for one reason or another and to see a team so close together, showing a great understanding of what’s needed, was very, very pleasing.”
Ross Barkley’s toe injury was the only sour note, with Martinez confirming the youngster’s absence could turn out to be a prolonged one after revealing fears of a potential fracture for the England starlet.
“Ross had a knock to his toe against Queens Park Rangers and we all felt that it would settle and he’d be able to play against Norwich,” he said. “As it turned out, I think it’s a bit more serious than we expected and it could be a fracture in his metatarsal and we need to assess it over the next few days.
“It is a blow but in the same way, at such a young age, we’re going to use this as a perfect rest for him to come back and be as strong and as sharp as he can be in the second half of the season. We’re going away to do some warm weather training this week and that’s going to help Ross to heal his bone and hopefully he’ll get back quicker than we expect.”