Martinez says points alone no guide to Everton progress

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Jason Mellor
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London (AFP) - Roberto Martinez has said Everton shouldn't be judged solely on their Premier League points tally as they take stock during the international break.

Leighton Baines's penalty earned a 1-1 draw at Sunderland to leave the Merseyside club in 10th place with 14 points from their first 11 games.

Despite being out of the League Cup, Everton are unbeaten in their last six matches and well-placed to reach the second phase of the Europa League.

"I wouldn't assess our season purely on points taken in the league," said Everton manager Martinez after Sunday's draw at the Stadium of Light.

"I think you also need to look at the consistency in our performances, both in the Premier League and in Europe. We've got a very strong squad, with 23 outfield players who can come in and contribute to the team.

"I feel we've got good competition for places and the right mentality to cope with the demands of domestic and European football.

"We had been guilty of being a bit soft defensively, but we've ironed that out. We've shown we have the ingredients of a winning team."

Martinez also said he was "holding his breath" on Gareth Barry, who was taken to hospital with his right leg in a protective cast during the first half.

The Everton boss absolves his compatriot Jordi Gomez of any blame. The Sunderland man, booked for the 13th-minute challenge on Barry, was fortunate to escape a second caution for simulation before the break.

"Barry's had an X-ray, and we're happy to confirm it's not the broken leg we were worried about," Martinez said. "There's ankle ligament damage that we must assess.

"It (the challenge) came early in the game and there's no intention to hurt him whatsoever."

Martinez was less charitable, however, when it came to Gomez's escape from censure for diving.

- Big calls -

Indeed the Everton boss felt Sunderland should have ended the contest with nine men, with Connor Wickham fortunate to avoid a straight red for tripping Seamus Coleman in the area, although Baines did score from the ensuing spot-kick.

"I was surprised Wickham didn't get sent off, because once you give a penalty it's a red card," said Martinez. "I don't agree with the rule, but that's not the issue. It would have been a major moment in the game had he got a red.

"Likewise, I don't want to see a player sent off, but Gomez was caught simulating. The referee was going to blow, but decided against it. They were two big calls that didn't go our way."

This result saw Sunderland go three points clear of the relegation zone, Seb Larsson's free-kick helping earn a sixth draw of the season for the Black Cats.

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet professed himself satisfied with a draw, but the result was tinged with disappointing injury news, as the head coach confirmed defender Patrick van Aanholt was set to be out until February following surgery on a dislocated shoulder suffered in the victory at Crystal Palace.

"It's not good news on Patrick, who needs an operation and is going to be out for two-and-a-half months. Hopefully, we should have most of our other injured players back training before the end of the international break," the Uruguayan added.