Roberto Martinez: Tom Cleverley is back to his best

Newcastle 0 Everton 1: Everton boss Roberto Martinez praised Tom Cleverley after the England midfielder headed the winner with the final touch of the game three minutes into injury time.
Roberto Martinez: Tom Cleverley is back to his best

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Rob Elliot turned in a fine individual display to almost secure Newcastle a point, but Martinez was delighted for the former Manchester United player, who he believes has suffered unfairly as his career stalled.

“Tom has been given really unfair treatment over the last three years.

“I know him well, but the way he has been performing at our football club, he has been back to himself, back to his very, very best.

“He’s an incredible English talent that goes a little bit further than someone who can be a bit of everything.

“He’s outstanding at what he does and for him to get the final touch in the most important moment of the game, he deserves to be part of that.”

Cleverley’s decisive intervention came just as it looked as though the Magpies’ determined rearguard action had earned them a point at St James’ Park.

The hosts were on the back foot for much of the game as Elliot denied Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas twice each, as well as Aaron Lennon and defender Ramiro Funes Mori, and Newcastle could have won it themselves as Aleksandar Mitrovic and Georginio Wijnaldum went close.

However, Cleverley looped home a header from the edge of the box to grab the points for the visitors.

The game saw Lukaku’s run of scoring in seven successive league fixtures and eight in all competitions come to an end — but Martinez was not particularly disappointed by that.

He said: “No, not at all, I think it’s better. There’s too much talking.

“We have never spoken about it and there’s too much talking about runs.”

Newcastle head for West Brom today knowing they will have to shake off their bitter disappointment if they are to bounce back immediately.

Manager Steve McClaren said: “It’s very difficult, just straight away refocus and lift. They have got to recover tonight, come in tomorrow and get prepared for West Brom on Monday.

“It’s a big test physically and mentally for the players after that because they gave absolutely everything.

“We talk about crawling off and they did. It was a struggle to get on the bench, they were all underneath.”

McClaren will assess striker Aleksandar Mitrovic’s ankle before naming his side today, with fellow frontman Papiss Cisse likely to be sidelined for several weeks by a groin problem.

Martinez used midfielder Gerard Deulofeu only as a substitute on Saturday, and left Arouna Kone sitting on the bench, so both will hope for involvement when Stoke visit Goodison Park today.

NEWCASTLE:

Elliot, Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Dummett, Sissoko, Anita, Colback, Wijnaldum, Perez (Thauvin 87), Mitrovic.

Subs not used:

De Jong, Gouffran, Thauvin, Tiote, Darlow, Mbabu, Toney.

EVERTON:

Howard, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines, Barkley (Deulofeu 69), Barry, Cleverley, Lennon (Besic 69), Lukaku, Mirallas (Osman 85).

Subs not used:

Robles, Gibson, Kone, Galloway.

Referee:

Lee Mason

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