Roberto Martinez called Everton’s 2-0 win against Middlesbrough the “perfect way” to reach the Capital One Cup semi-finals – and also had words of praise for Gerard Deulofeu.
Spanish winger Deulofeu opened the scoring for the Toffees, and then became provider by crossing for Romelu Lukaku to score the second and double Everton’s lead at the Riverside Stadium as they claimed a comfortable 2-0 win.
Martinez’s men await the semi-final draw on Wednesday night – where they could face neighbours Liverpool if they overcome Southampton – as the Toffees look to lift the trophy for the first time in their history.
After the game, Martinez said: “It was a very satisfying performance and it was a special atmosphere. We knew what we had to do and we took our chances well.
“After scoring the goals it was an internal challenge after what happened at the weekend. It was the perfect way to get to the semis.”
Speaking about the impressive display for Deulofeu, Martinez said: “I see that from Gerard every day. I’m impressed with his maturity and the consistency he is showing, which is difficult as a winger.”
After recovering from long-term injury, Everton left-back Leighton Baines made his return to the side, coming on as a second-half substitute.
“It was a major plus to see Baines back,” said Martinez. “To see him reach the semi-finals with his football club is special for us all.”
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has previously managed Deulofeu as national youth coach, and he admitted that the tricky winger was too much for his side.
“I have known Deulofeu since he was 14,” said Karanka. “When he is on his day, as he was today, it is difficult to stop him.”