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Martinez hails turning point for Everton

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Lukaku's penalty won it for Everton
Lukaku's penalty won it for Everton

Everton boss Roberto Martinez believes his side's 2-1 Europa League win over Dynamo Kiev could prove to be a turning point in their troubled season.

Martinez's men came from behind at Goodison Park to claim the advantage from the last-16 first leg as they once again produced a continental performance in contrast to their domestic displays.

While impressing in European action this term, Everton have struggled in the Premier League and, ahead of Sunday's home clash against Newcastle, they are just six points above the relegation zone in 14th after registering only one victory from their previous 12 top-flight fixtures.

"I think it has to be a turning point for us," declared the Spaniard as his side edged towards the quarter-finals.

"The crowd are intelligent and they know that we are a very honest group of players that are trying to play our best football.

"Today you saw the same team with a real anxiety in the first 20 to 25 minutes finding it very difficult to express ourselves.

"But then, when we get that tempo right and that freedom and expression in our play, we are a very, very good team.

"I think it's a moment where we need each other more than ever and now we need to focus on the league and on Sunday get that feeling that we had in the second half.

"We need to be together and help each other to express ourselves.

"Once we get that winning momentum in the league we are all going to get the rewards of seeing an outstanding football team with a lot of youngsters with enormous potential."

The home crowd were restless in the opening stages of Dynamo game, with Martinez's players looking as uncertain as they have done in the league and falling behind in the 14th minute to Oleg Gusev's strike.

Yet the Goodison Park roar was back  by the final whistle after Everton bounced back strongly, with Steven Naimith's 39th-minute effort levelling things before Romelu Lukaku converted the winner from the penalty spot with eight minutes to go.

"We know they (Dynamo) are a very good side, and especially at home, but we look forward to going to Kiev," added Martinez.

"It will be a really strong challenge with them having the home advantage, but we have played well in Europe away from home.

"We will have to be at our best. The support will be really important."

There is a real chance that Everton will be England's last remaining team in European competition this season if they come through in Kiev, after Chelsea's Champions League demise on Wednesday night added to the prospect of Arsenal and Manchester City exiting that competition next week.