Roberto Martinez believes Everton FC have proved they are not a fading force – by banishing the late slumps which were harming their season.
Questions were asked about the Blues fitness levels and concentration after they began the campaign with a damaging habit of conceding late goals.
The Blues shipped late equalisers in their opening games with Leicester City and Arsenal, before being over-run by a potent Chelsea side at Goodison Park.
But Martinez insists his players have grafted extra hard to find a solution, and are now finishing games on top of the opposition.
Speaking after the Toffees rescued a point against Liverpool and Krasnodar, before finishing strongly at Old Trafford only to be denied by Manchester United keeper David De Gea on Sunday, he said: “It was an aspect we weren’t happy with.
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“It’s about facing adversity full on. Probably our physical levels were dropping in the last 15 to 10 minutes of the games
“The players we have at the club wanted to know the reasons why it was happening. They weren’t happy to accept it. So we adjusted a few things and now we’ve been finishing games stronger than the opposition with a good energy about our play and that’s been really important.
“As a team you need to face what’s wrong, if there’s anything you don’t do too well, and then rectify it.
“That’s been a big positive for us that we were able to adjust it.”
Martinez applauded the defiant spirit in his camp, which he believes will help them turn their current slump around when the Premier League resumes after the international break.
“We cannot lose character in our season,” he said.
“We showed that determination and never say die attitude at Anfield.
“We want to get better on the ball and we’ll always be critical of ourselves. We know what we can reach. WBut to have that attitude when you never accept defeat, even at Anfield when Liverpool score from a dead-ball situation at a critical moment, we didn’t accept it.
“We went to Russia and again the home side started well with energy and created momentum. But we never accepted that we were going to leave the ground with a negative result.
“That spirit has to be our backbone. Earlier in the season we were magnificent opening teams up and scoring goals, but we were a little loose at the back. As a team we were a bit soft but we’ve got our solidity off the ball back.”
Martinez is hoping the break from action this weekend allows key personnel to recover from injuries which has contributed to Everton’s malaise.
And he hopes the returning players will also allow over-worked team-mates to get a break.
He added: “The injuries have prevented us from sharing the demands on the squad.
“What we need to do with certain players who have put in a lot of effort lately is refresh them when we can use the players who are coming back from injury.
“I expected that over 10 months we would have demands. I don’t see it as a reason to drop our performances.”
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