Roberto Martinez on Crystal Palace loss: ‘We didn’t have that real drive about us’

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Everton manager Roberto Martinez definitely expected his side, having contended for Champions League qualification a season ago, to take care of business against a Crystal Palace team that can’t often boast a top-quality record in the Premier League.

The Toffees were able to get a leg up early in the match after striker Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring in the ninth minute, but three consecutive goals from Palace had Everton down two goals late in the game.

And even though Leighton Baines nailed a penalty kick in the 83rd minute to draw his squad within a goal, it was too late to salvage a point out of the contest.

“It was a really strange game,” Martinez said, per Goal.com. “We wanted to be sharp and we had to be bright on the ball because Crystal Palace are always really well defensively set up. I thought we were fantastic and the first 15 or 20 minutes were as good as we’ve played. We were controlling the game and looked fresh and scored a very good goal. I felt that at that point we lost a bit of intent and we didn’t have that real drive about us to score that second goal, which was all we needed.

“Leon Osman had a good chance, if that goes in, it’s game over. Then the penalty is an incredible reward for Crystal Palace. It’s a long ball from Julian Speroni and we have to deal a lot better with it. That allowed Crystal Palace to have a lot of belief, and it forces a couple of errors which are very uncharacteristic for us. The character was incredible. We kept fighting and creating chances and probably did enough to get something from the game but it’s very disappointing in the manner we started the game that we couldn’t wrap up the performance with three points.”