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Robert Martinez satisfied after long-awaited win

Boss praises players after victory at Selhurst Park

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Roberto Martinez praised a "professional" performance by his players after they ground out a 1-0 victory away at Crystal Palace thanks to Romelu Lukaku's early goal.

It was Everton's first win since December 15 and hopefully closes the chapter on what has been a torrid period of the season.

The Toffees have now not lost in open play since New Year's day and finally appear to be gathering some momentum ahead of next weekend's Merseyside derby.

Speaking after the game, Martinez said:

"It was more than relief - it was real satisfaction.

"Our last two performances in the league had been very good but we didn't get the three points. Today we felt that we had to be perfect to do that. We were against a team full of confidence who were scoring goals at ease.

"Our performance was very professional with a strong intent from the beginning to win the game. We scored the goal early and the hardest thing in football is to hold on to that lead for so long in a place like this.

"We were tested and had to defend our box well. We carried a good threat and maybe we should have scored a second goal, but overall we defended with a lot of concentration and that made for a very pleasing performance.

"We have a really responsible group of players that are true ambassadors of Everton.

"We were the first ones to not be enjoying winning consistently. We know what we can do and we know of the expectations that we have been able to raise. [Not winning] made it difficult to approach the next game, and we got punished at times.

"We now look refreshed and mentally strong. We've got incredible support. You could see today, when we most needed the fans, they are always behind us with a full away allocation. That's a sign for us to be proud."