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In-form Everton continued their great start under Roberto Martinez with a 4-1 thrashing of strugglers Fulham, with a late three goal flurry to give them the win after Dimitar Berbatov had levelled from the penalty spot. Martinez praised the character of his squad as they recovered from the setback to win the game.
“I always measure the side by how you react towards adversity,” said Martinez. “We conceded a goal against Arsenal and we reacted in the right manner and got a well deserved draw. And the same today. They got an equaliser and it would have been all too easy to feel sorry for ourselves, to panic and to lose the game, but it was the opposite.
“We were more focused than ever and had a real threat. I was very pleased with our performance in the end because it wasn’t one of our best days.”
Martinez was also full of praise for midfielder Leon Osman, who scored the opening goal in Saturday's 4-1 win. Osman, 32, was tipped by his manager to still have an impact with the England team despite his last cap coming in March against San Marino, a game which England won 8-0.
"There are thinkers and the players who don't think. Leon is a bright, bright footballer. He takes in concepts and ideas. He always gives you something different. Leon showed he can still have a role for England and can still help the national side."
Osman's midfield partner and fellow England hopeful Ross Barkley has emerged as one of the top young midfielders in the country, and his impressive displays for the Toffees have attracted interest from Manchester City and Manchester United, with the latter managed by his former Everton boss David Moyes.
It's reported that Moyes is looking to clinch a deal for Barkley before the World Cup to stave off interest, with fellow midfielder Tom Cleverley – who played under Roberto Martinez during a loan spell at Wigan Athletic – believed to be part of a deal for the 20 year old. Everton fans will be hoping to keep hold of Barkley, who is blossoming under Martinez, and regular first team football is a huge factor in that – something the youngster needs to consider before making a move away from Goodison Park.
There is some bad news for Martinez, as winger Gerard Deulofeu suffered a hamstring injury against Fulham and will miss a considerable chunk of time. The Barcelona loanee has been turning in some impressive displays of late for Everton, but it's now reported that Deulofeu could miss up to four months as Martinez faces up to life without the 19 year old starlet.
“Gerard’s injury is a negative. He’s a sprinter and he’s pulled his hamstring.” said Martinez.“We don’t know how big the tear is but we expect him to be out for a little bit of time. It is unfortunate because I thought he was ready to play a big role in the side.”