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Martinez pleased with defensive improvement

Boss reacts to 1-1 draw against Tottenham at Goodison Park

Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Roberto Martinez is never one to hold back when it comes to praising his side so it should come to no surprise that the Spaniard has hailed the "incredible" change in defensive performance during Sunday's 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham.

After shipping seven goals in their previous two home games Martinez had highlighted pre-game the need to tighten up at the back, something that has blighted the team over the past two seasons.

It wasn't a vintage display, and the term "incredible" is certainly exaggerating things a little bit, but it was a considerable step in the right direction.

Everton were under pressure for large parts of the game, particularly in the first half, but looked much more solid at dealing with balls into the penalty area.

Dele Alli's equaliser on the strike of half-time was brilliantly taken, but the fact it came from a relatively routine long pass shows there is still room for improvement.

Speaking after the final whistle, Martinez said:

"We have been a little bit lightweight in the way we have defended our box and today was an incredible change. The way we defended was a platform for our performance.

"Spurs had a lot of the ball in the first half but played into our hands a little bit, so we were disappointed to concede such a direct goal.

"They had a lot of possession but we knew how to create opportunities because they press so high up. They had a lot of the ball but couldn't find their key players like Kane, Lamela and Eriksen."

Martinez has been criticised for his substitutions in recent weeks and his decision to take off goalscorer Aaron Lennon was booed by the home fans.

However, the introduction of Gerard Deulofeu and Muhamed Besic swung the game back into Everton's favour, with the Toffees finishing the game on top.

Martinez added:

"In the second half, the way we grew into it and used the squad was pleasing. The tempo, intensity and quality was good and with a little bit more quality in the final pass we could have taken advantage.

"We have different options, different variations. We changed the shape and brought on different personnel and it gave us a lift."

The boss also took time to praise Lennon, who was making just his fourth start of the season and opened the scoring with a fine drive into the top corner.

It was the 28-year-old's first goal since making his move permanent in the summer and first at Goodison Park after two away strikes last season.

Martinez said:

"Aaron Lennon was very impressive against Newcastle and again today. It was tough for him because he had to play catch up after not having a proper pre-season and joining on the last day of the window. He is very different to the other wingers we have and to see him today was a real joy."