Everton boss Roberto Martinez blamed his side’s flat second-half performance against Hull on fatigue due to their busy schedule.
The Spaniard watched his side slip to a disappointing 1-1 draw with Hull – the fifth time this season that Martinez’s men haven’t taken all three points from a home game.
Everton started the game brightly and took a first-half lead when Romelu Lukaku hammered home after Kevin Mirallas had left Michael Dawson standing with a neat bit of skill down the right flank.
The hosts dropped the tempo in the second half and Hull responded when Sone Aluko fired past Tim Howard on 59 minutes.
However, the Everton boss was far from downbeat regarding his side’s performance and blamed their lacklustre second performance on tiredness following three games in seven days.
“There were a few tired legs,” Martinez said.
“The amount of games has been incredible. It’s different to play a role where you are sitting in deep and defending you can cope with it a lot better than when you have to be expansive and use a lot of energy to break a team down.
“When you look at the stats and see the opposition have just one shot on target and get something out of the game, it’s frustrating. But I couldn’t be happier with the character of my players, they gave everything they had.”
Usually such a fortress, Goodison Park has lacked that fear factor for visiting teams this season and a section of fans were disgruntled during the second half as Hull took the initiative.
Martinez refused to criticize his supporters and understands their frustration but he won’t be changing his possession-based style despite some fans calling to play a more direct game into big striker Lukaku.
He said: “The expectations are huge and rightly so. The fans have been magnificent. After such a dominant first half you expect the points to be in the bag and all of a sudden you lose two points and that’s a really hurtful action, so you can understand the fans reacting like that.
“We know the style of football we want to play and it’s been very successful so we won’t change that. It’s important when you want to play a certain way that you are full of energy, but we couldn’t show that today.”