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Roberto: Lukaku key to Everton’s newfound consistency

Manager's pre-match quotes

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has credited striker Romelu Lukaku for the team's current form. He went on to explain that the Belgium forward's availability has resulted in players around him hitting their stride, specifically Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley.

"Every foreign player has to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League but, for a striker like Rom, with his frame, I don't think he had the opportunity to play enough 90 minutes when he first arrived.

"He had an incredible scoring ratio at West Brom but I think he played only seven full 90 minutes that season.

"It's a long process to get to the stage where you can play 90 minutes without losing the power and the pace in every action but now it's very rare that you don't see him finish the last 10 minutes with the same power, pace and control. On top of that, he can play three games in a week, which is quite remarkable for a player of that size. I would say that's happening now for the first time this year. At the start of last season, he was catching up after the World Cup. From January, he's been the mature Rom who can play 90 minutes, and there's everything that comes with that.

"Any player who can stay fit and reliable gives you an incredible base to work on. You can develop a good strategy with other players around them, the understanding of those players, the partnerships you develop. That's important and, of course you don't want to lose players through injury. Rom is in a great moment of form. Gerard is in a great moment of form. Ross is in a great moment of form.

"But I feel we've got a very good group of experienced players who at the moment are not playing a big role, and they're ready to play that big role. It's not the case that our squad is 11 plus three or four young players waiting to help. We've got Steven Naismith, Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon, Aiden McGeady, Darron Gibson and Muhamed Besic. You're talking about players who are desperate to have a big role. So I'm delighted with the squad that we have."

The manager also went on to speak about the crucial role the month of December plays in the overall big picture. Fans will remember the horrid holiday season the Blues went through last season which all but doomed any chance of making a European football spot.

"December is the most significant month in terms of competing for 15 points in such a short period of time.

"That's the focus we have as a football club. The fans have been enjoying the style that we have been playing but we will never stop wanting to improve, to get better and promoting that competition for places.

"That way we can be an exciting team to watch but also one that can win consistently.

"We want to aim for perfection, and perfection for us is to play well, in an exciting, attacking manner that our fans enjoy and love, and then to get a win at the end of it.

"We are still getting through that important period, that middle third of the season, and we are striving to push each other to become better. Because we have such a young group, you always feel that improvement is there.

"For the next block of games, it is vital that the attention goes into the Premier League."

The month of December for Everton starts today, with hosting Crystal Palace, a team that Everton has often struggled against especially at Goodison Park.