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Everton moved in to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win over Swansea City. Goals from Lacina Traore, Steven Naismith and Leighton Baines secured the Toffees' passage to the next round, and the debut goal for new loan signing Traore just two minutes into his first appearance was a huge boost for manager Roberto Martinez, whose attacking options have been decimated in recent weeks.
“For Lacina Traore to play 60 minutes was a real success for us.” said Martinez. “He’s been working really hard behind the scenes and for us to get 60 minutes was the target. For him to be able to play against a team like Swansea was a real nightmare for a striker coming into our league.”
“I thought he coped with the instructions for the team off the ball really well. And he then scored within two minutes of his new career at Everton so it’s a beautiful sign for the future,” he added.
The giant Ivorian will be relied upon for goals in the absence of star striker Romelu Lukaku, and the former Anzhi Makhachkala man was clearly delighted to have finally played for the Toffees, but suggests there is even more to come once he gets up to speed with his fitness.
“It was a pleasure to start my first game and to cap it with a goal was great,” he told the club’s website. “I think we can go all the way, hopefully. We’ll be fighting hard to get to the final in this competition.
“When you think it’s been nearly five months since I played a competitive game, it was great to get 60 minutes under my belt. I’ll start to feel even better when I’ve had a few more games, but I feel good now. I will start to get my full match fitness and continue improving.”
“I’m hoping to get to my top level, my peak fitness as soon as possible – and it’s only with working hard in training and playing those minutes out there on the field in games that that will happen,” added Traore.
Meanwhile, Everton's interest in Levante stopper Keylor Navas continues to hit the headlines, but local rivals Liverpool are also being linked with a move for the Costa Rican international goalkeeper. The La Liga star was suggested as a target for Martinez last week, but it seems his potential availability has alerted Brendan Rodgers' side, but he may only be a backup given the established No. 1's in Tim Howard and Simon Mignolet respectively.
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