Nov 222014

Roberto Martinez praised the performance of referee Mark Clattenburg as Everton shaded a tetchy encounter against West Ham United at Goodison.

And the Blues boss saluted “the most satisfying win of the season” after his side stretched their unbeaten run to seven games with a 2-1 triumph.

Kevin Mirallas was involved in a flashpoint on the hour when he pushed James Tomkins in the chest before the Hammers centre-back fell to the floor clutching his face.

Martinez refused to condemn an obvious attempt to get the Belgian – making his comeback after two months on the sidelines – dismissed and instead praised the reaction of Clattenburg.


“The player knows what he is doing,” said the Blues boss. “It was a reaction in the moment that could help the referee make a decision, but the referee was in control.

“Kevin pushed him (Tomkins) away, but it wasn’t a slap or a punch. Then it’s down to the interpretation of the referee.

“Some referees could have sent him off. So I thought the referee did really well, he showed great experience.

“He played a good advantage with the winning goal. He wasn’t too picky.

“It was a tough game for the ref, the type of old fashioned game where two sets of wholehearted players were very committed and wanted to win. The referee understood that well.”

Leon Osman marked his 400 appearance with a 73rd-minute winner after Clattenburg waved play on despite Romelu Lukaku being fouled by James Collins during the build-up.

Hammers substitute Mauro Zarate had earlier equalised Lukaku’s first-half opener with a shot that deflected in off the unlucky Phil Jagielka.

And Martinez said: “It’s the most satisfying win we have had this season.

“It was one of those wins where you get to show the character, personality and winning mentality of the squad.

“There have been more glamorous games in terms of technical ability but we faced a West Ham side playing with a lot of confidence.

“I couldn’t be happier with the concentration we showed. We looked dynamic and strong on the counter-attack, and I was pleased with the way we dealt with conceding.

“We don’t accept defeat. There are no excuses from my players. It is giving us a lift.”

Of Osman’s strike, Martinez added: “Leon’s goal was fitting. He was outstanding throughout the game, not just because of the winning goal.

“He was marshalling the back four and dictating play in a very deep role, so he was the last person you’d expect to be on the end of a counter-attack in the six-yard box.

“He is an incredible ambassador for the club and an example for all youngsters. You need to show grit, determination and character to achieve your dreams and Leon has done that.”

West Ham were enraged in the first half when a strong tackle from James McCarthy left Morgan Amalfitano in a heap.

“The challenge from James McCarthy, he wins the ball completely and then there is contact,” said Martinez. “The other player cannot just disappear.

“That is part of the game. Both sets of players reacted quickly (to the tackle) but then they calmed down.”

Watch: Dave Prentice on Everto’s 2-1 win

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The one negative for Everton was a hamstring injury suffered by Steven Naismith in the closing moments, with the Scot now almost certain to miss Thursday’s Europa League trip to Wolfsburg.

“We are going to assess it,” said Martinez. “It looks he has picked up a soft tissue damage.

“He will probably miss Thursday but I don’t expect him to be out for too long.”

Aiden McGeady missed out after picking up a bug but is expected to return to training early in the week.

Meanwhile, West Ham boss Sam Allardyce was unhappy Lukaku’s opener was allowed to stand.

“The decision for the first goal baffled me,” he said. “It was offside. I’ve had an explanation from the referee but I won’t disclose it publicly.”

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