Everton latest: Martinez and Jagielka rue striker shortage

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Everton's hopes of finishing in the top four were dealt a blow after they lost 1-0 at fellow Champions League hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur. Emmanuel Adebayor's second half goal was enough to seal a 1-0 win for Tim Sherwood's side, but Toffees boss Roberto Martinez maintained that Everton were the better side, and will continue to challenge the best in the Premier League if they play like that.

"This type of performance in the next 13 games will get us a lot of points," said Martinez. "We are fighting with ourselves. Thirteen games is a lot of points and the league is developing into one of most exciting ends to a season ever. It's down to us now to reproduce this level of performance but get the result [as well].

"Losing is a blow but it depends how we take it. It could be a real turning point.” Martinez added. “I think we were the better side. It comes down to concentration levels and know-how, and we need to make sure we take [lessons] from this defeat."

A big problem for Everton on Sunday was that they had 11 shots on goal to Spurs' eight, but couldn't hit the back of the net in the absence of Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku sustained an ankle injury against Liverpool, and the Toffees struggled without him as Steven Naismith offered little up front and new signing Lacina Traore was an unused substitute.

Captain Phil Jagielka acknowledged their struggles up front, suggesting that had Lukaku – or a fully fit Traore – been on the pitch, the outcome may have been somewhat different.

"We're struggling a little bit at the moment," Jagielka said. "Lacina is not quite right yet and it's difficult because although we played some good stuff we were perhaps missing that fox in the box or target man to get us the goal. It's frustrating and at the least we should probably have kept a clean sheet and come away with 0-0 but we didn't.”

On the transfer front, full back Seamus Coleman continues to be linked with a move away from Merseyside after an impressive season under Martinez. Former Everton boss David Moyes has been repeatedly linked with a move for Coleman, which would see the pair reunite at Manchester United, but a new suitor has been suggested – AC Milan.

Regular right back Ignazio Abate has been linked with a summer exit, and the Rossoneri have now been credited with an interest in Irish international Coleman, who has established himself as one of the top full backs in the Premier League, and could command a big fee if he leaves the club.

image: © wonker

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