Everton 1 Chelsea 0: Gareth Barry essential to win – Roberto Martínez
Everton 1 Chelsea 0: Roberto Martínez hails debutant Gareth Barry for his performance in a win against the Blues
Roberto Martínez admits Gareth Barry was “essential” after Everton were narrow winners against Chelsea at Goodison Park.
The Toffees were the more impressive side in the first half and edged into the lead thanks to Steven Naismith’s header in the 45th minute.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho handed Samuel Eto’o his debut and the Cameroon striker was denied a dream start by a desperate Barry block with Tim Howard out of position.
The Blues introduced Frank Lampard, Oscar and Fernando Torres in search of an equaliser in the second half, but Martínez’s men held firm to secure three points.
“It was a masterclass [from Barry],” Martínez told Sky Sports. “He hasn’t played competitive football [this season]. Straight away that shows you the way he is as a professional.
“It’s very difficult when you’re not playing to keep working hard and keep your fitness up. He is full of knowledge. He is one of those profiles that you don’t get in the English game.”
He continued: “He’s the perfect influence for Ross Barkley and James McCarthy, but I thought his partnership with Leon Osman was magnificent.
“Remember that Chelsea are at their best in that area. They’re clever and use the space really well. They have really good individuals in one-on-one situations.
“I thought Gareth Barry was essential when it came to keeping a clean sheet.”
Martínez also expressed his delight at securing the first win of his Everton reign after replacing David Moyes at Goodison Park in June.
“It feels really good. It was a special game, special opposition and it went really well,” he added.