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Roberto Martinez: Everton will challenge for fourth despite January caution

Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes that his side is well equipped to maintain its challenge for fourth place despite a cautious January transfer window.

The Spaniard recruited winger Aiden McGeady and young goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek, as well as on-loan forward Lacina Traore, but argues that any more upheaval in the middle of the season would have meant taking a "gamble" on the dynamic of his thus-far successful squad.


The Toffees came from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Saturday and Martinez feels that the result justified his faith in his team.
"You saw the spirit we displayed out there and I didn't want to affect the dynamic of what we have got here by taking a gamble in the window," the ex-Wigan boss told reporters. "The January window is exactly that - a gamble. You go in if you need to gamble to change things around but, when you look at this squad, we don't need to.

"This dressing room is strong and I don't want to undermine that — [Saturday's] performance proves that. It was an exciting performance because it shows we can challenge in the final third of the season.

"You don't get a harder test of a team than on the back of a derby defeat, the way that it hurt everyone, and then conceding a goal to be behind like that. That sort of adversity is going to tell you an awful lot about a group of players and how you are going to finish the season.

"For me, it answered so many questions about the players and showed we are going to see a much stronger Everton."

The 40-year-old paid particular tribute to Kevin Mirallas, whose free kick provided the winner.

"There has been a change in Kevin's mentality this season," Martinez said. "He was a player helping the team, now he is a player setting standards week in, week out. He has that maturity now and has become a different footballer. He brings that star quality to be there when it is needed."

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