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Martinez hails Barkley after win


Ross Barkley, centre, earned praise from boss Roberto Martinez for his performance against QPR

Ross Barkley, centre, earned praise from boss Roberto Martinez for his performance against QPR

Ross Barkley, centre, earned praise from boss Roberto Martinez for his performance against QPR

Roberto Martinez hailed the performance of Ross Barkley in Everton's 3-1 victory over QPR but was left frustrated by a late injury to Kevin Mirallas.

Barkley impressed from the start and seized the initiative in the 33rd minute with a driving run finished off by a rocket of a shot into the top corner.

Barkley's shot took a slight deflection on its way past Rob Green, and there was more than a touch of luck about Everton's second 10 minutes later as Mirallas' free-kick diverted off Eduardo Vargas' head and into the far corner.

Steven Naismith exploited poor defending to add a third in the 53rd minute, with Bobby Zamora's first goal of the season in the 80th minute never threatening to change the result.

The victory ended a four-game winless run for Everton, and it was the untested midfield partnership of Barkley and Muhamed Besic that earned Martinez's praise.

The Toffees boss said: "We had to cope with having four central midfielders missing and, in any squad, that's going to be a real test.

"Probably this allowed Ross Barkley and Mo Besic to have a partnership that in training looked very strong. They're young players but, the way they performed today, the future these two players have is immense.

"Ross Barkley, I thought it was a real joy to see him. The way he scored the first goal, he's the one that started the move, he gets through the line of the QPR midfield and then the way he finishes from outside the box is quite exceptional.

"He deserves that outcome because of the work he's put in in training, the way he shows his personality to get on the ball, to want to create, his performance was very impressive.

"It's a really important victory for us. It's important to get momentum, it's important to get confidence, and you can only get that by having good results. I thought it was a well deserved good result."

The sour note came in stoppage time when Jordon Mutch chopped down Mirallas, trapping the Belgian's ankle.

Mirallas left Goodison Park in a boot and on crutches, and Martinez said: "There's clear damage in his ankle.

"I don't know if it's going to be ligament damage or something else. We're going to scan him in the morning. It doesn't look too bad. It's swollen straight away, which is a good sign."

Mutch was booked for the tackle but Martinez held back from criticising the QPR midfielder.

"It's unfortunate more than anything," said the Spaniard. "I know the referee gave him a yellow card and I haven't seen the challenge to give my opinion.

"It's just disappointing that it's really late in the game. It's been a frustrating season with a couple of injuries that he's picked up and the last thing you want is to have an accident of that manner."

QPR have yet to pick up a point away from home this season and manager Harry Redknapp was left frustrated with his team's inability to exploit the nerves and frustration that were evident around Goodison.

"They were poor goals, and that was the problem," said Redknapp.

"Until they scored their first goal, I've never felt so comfortable. I thought, 'We've got a big chance here tonight'.

"The first goal, we gave the ball away cheaply. It's a great strike from a fantastic young player, but it took a deflection that certainly changed the direction of the ball.

"Then the second one we gave a silly free-kick away, another deflection and we're 2-0 down at half-time. I don't think we deserved that.

"The crowd was edgy, I thought they played edgy. At half-time, I thought if we could come out and score, at 2-1 the pressure would be on them. Even at 3-1 with 10 minutes to go, they weren't exactly full of confidence."