Roberto Martinez: Top-four pressure took its toll on Everton

Roberto Martinez on 'hurtful' defeat

Everton manager Roberto Martinez hinted the pressure of trying to seal a top-four Premier League place was a reason for his team's loss to Crystal Palace.

A 3-2 defeat left the Toffees fifth, a point behind Arsenal, with four matches left and Champions League qualification still up for grabs.

"It's a real disappointment, a result which is hurtful," Martinez said.

"We wanted to win so much that we stopped being ourselves and that is what we have to learn from."

Everton still have the two Manchester clubs to face at home as well as away trips to Southampton and Hull, while all of the Gunners' matches come against sides outside the Premier League's top eight.

Martinez added: "We will try to get as many points as we can. It doesn't change anything. We have had a magnificent season and we have incredible potential in this squad.

"It is not in our hands, but you have to be as strong as you can be.

Goodison Park
Everton supporters joined scarves with Liverpool FC scarves to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster before the game.

"There will be twists and turns because it is that stage of the season. There will always be surprises at this stage of the season."

Goals from Jason Puncheon and Scott Dann put the visitors in control before substitute Steven Naismith halved the deficit just after the hour mark. Cameron Jerome restored Palace's two-goal cushion before Kevin Mirallas scored a late consolation.

Martinez continued: "In the first half ,we were fearful, we conceded bad goals.

"The reaction in the second half was ourselves. That was perfect and we were unfortunate not to get something out of the game. But we get ready for the next four games.

"They scored three goals from four shots on target. The breaks went Palace's way and we congratulate them. They were clinical."