Roberto Martinez: Everton “fearful” in defeat to Crystal Palace

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After their shock defeat to Crystal Palace on Wednesday, Everton’s UEFA Champions League dreams now hanging in the balance with four games of the Premier League season to go.

Crystal Palace raced into a shock 2-0 lead and despite the Toffees’ best efforts, Roberto Martinez’s side saw their run of seven-straight league wins come to an abrupt end.

(MORE: Everton 2-3 Crystal Palace – Toffees’ top four hopes take huge hit)

Now they are outside the top four by one point and one place, as they’ve handed Arsenal the initiative to clinch the final UCL spot. The Gunners are unlikely to give up a chance like this, as they have a much easier run in with Hull, Newcastle, West Brom and Norwich to play.

With four games to go Everton still has a chance, but speaking to reporters after the game Martinez couldn’t hide his disappointment after a poor display.

“It’s a real disappointment, a result which is hurtful. The first half we were fearful, the way we conceded the first goal shows that,” Martinez said bluntly. “They didn’t have the threat to score three goals. We conceded bad goals. But we get ready for the next four games. We wanted to win so much that we stopped being ourselves and that is what we have to learn from. We will try and get as many points as we can, it doesn’t change anything. We have had a magnificent season and we have incredible potential in this squad.”

The Spanish manager is correct, even if Everton do succumb to a poor finish and don’t make the top four, they have exceeded everyone’s expectations this campaign. That being said, to come this close and have their destiny in their own hands but then throw it away, that hurts.

Everton have to regroup, quickly, as Manchester United head to Goodison Park on Sunday, then they play Southampton, Manchester City and Hull. The Toffees should not give up. Yet defeat at home to Crystal Palace, reinforced by a nervy and error strewn display, will leave a sour taste in the mouths of most Evertonians for the next few days, at least.

Soccer world reacts to the Manchester attacks

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NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.

Soccer clubs, players and personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.

Juventus purchases Cuadrado from Chelsea

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If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.

The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.

Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.

Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.

Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.

Report: Jermain Defoe meeting with Bournemouth

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Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.

Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.

[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]

The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.

Chelsea’s Conte wins pair of top managerial honors

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Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.

The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.

The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.

In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.