Everton latest: Martinez praises players as Lukaku replacement eyed

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Everton kept up the pressure on fourth placed Arsenal with a convincing 2-0 win over Manchester United at Goodison Park yesterday, as goals from Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas completed a league double over the Red Devils, and left former boss David Moyes unhappy on his return to Merseyside.

Moyes' successor Roberto Martinez continues to earn rave reviews for his job at Everton this season, but the Spaniard moved to praise his players for the manner in which they disposed of United so comfortably.

“It’s very pleasing when you’ve got young players in their early 20s who can cope with those aspects of the game so well," said Martinez. "We had to be solid, very well organised and the use the dynamic football that we have. The way we got into the final third was very enjoyable and then we worked very hard to keep a clean sheet. The manner in which we did that was very pleasing," he added.

Goalkeeper Tim Howard, formerly of United, played under Moyes during his long spell at Goodison Park, but said he expected better from the Everton fans who booed the United boss yesterday. It was Moyes' first return to the club since leaving last summer, and Howard said he deserved a better reception.

"We have brilliant fans, but that was unfair on him. He was the second coming, the messiah 12 months ago, and I don't think as Evertonians we should forget that," said Howard.

Meanwhile, Toffees boss Martinez will need to replace the goals of Romelu Lukaku, who will return to Chelsea at the end of his loan spell this summer, and is once again being linked with a swoop for Wilfried Bony. The Swansea City striker has been their shining light this season, and further illustrated his goalscoring ability with a brace in the Swans' 2-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday. With a World Cup appearance for Ivory Coast on the horizon, Bony will be attracting interest from plenty of clubs and Martinez may need to move quickly if he is to secure his signature.

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