Questions were asked after Everton’s shambolic defensive display against Chelsea but were swept under the rug after an international break, John Stones replacing the injured Sylvain Distin and wins against West Brom and Wolfsburg – they have now resurfaced after a similarly poor showing defensively yesterday against Crystal Palace.
Just like last season’s fixture, Yannick Bolasie troubled Everton’s defence from start to finish; possibly being the reason why James McCarthy was moved to right-back for the final 25 minutes. Many pundits will use the cliché of having a ‘Europa League hangover’ to describe any game following a European fixture that Everton don’t win, to try and explain without actually examining the real reasons.
In today’s press conference the Blues gaffer was keen to put to bed that thought by saying that the players looked fresh from the start and it was the errors made for the three goals that ultimately cost Everton.
"We had two very good performances defensively previous to the Palace match, so it is not that there is a problem that has been developing," said Martinez.
"I do think that the performance and clean sheet against West Brom brought our defensive intensity back to our play. I think it was back against Wolfsburg as well, and yesterday was just a bit different.
"Unfortunately we made a couple of bad decisions and errors which cost us goals. But I don't think it's the case of a lack of a defensive attitude of the team.
"It was a very rare game. The spooky side of it was that we replicated against Crystal Palace the performance we had in April, with the same scoreline. But we will learn from it.
"If it had been that we couldn't find our rhythm or our normal way of playing because we were tired or didn't have the energy, I would say that was down to the fact we played an extra game on Thursday.
"But that wasn't the case at all - if anything, it was the opposite. If you watched the first 15 or 20 minutes, we were the ones with the real intent on the ball. We looked fresh and were penetrating."