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Martinez and players hurting after damaging loss

Everton boss Roberto Martinez admitted he and his players were hurting after their pursuit of a top-four Premier League finish was damaged by a 3-2 home loss to Crystal Palace.

It is a reaction of disappointment because the result is a hurtful one, especially with the expectations we had.

I thought in the first half, we wanted to win so much that we forgot about the simple basics that you need to do to win a football game.

The way we defended carried somehow a bit of fear and that left us a bit exposed. It is not normal for us to play with that feeling.

I thought the second half was completely different - we changed the approach, it was a bit more positive and it was back to being ourselves.

But I think in every aspect the game played well into Crystal Palace's hands.

– Everton boss Roberto Martinez
  • Match report: Everton 2-3 Crystal Palace

Pellegrini: We couldn't take our minds off the Liverpool defeat

Manuel Pellegrini conceded that Manchester City's title hopes have suffered a serious blow after they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by bottom club Sunderland.

It could have been even worse for City who needed a late equaliser by Samir Nasri to avoid defeat, but Liverpool are now six points ahead having only played a single game more while Chelsea are four points in front.

Of course the chances are less than before the match. It was very important for us to win the three points, for different reasons we couldn't but we continue fighting to the end.

I think we couldn't take out of the mind the game against Liverpool and that was the consequence why the team didn't play well.

We needed more intensity but our mind maybe was not in the moment to do it.

Maybe at the moment Liverpool and Chelsea have better chances than our team because we are in third position but we still continue fighting until the last game.

– Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini

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Stoke reject Jones fine appeal

Cardiff striker Kenwyne Jones has had an appeal against a fine imposed on him by his former club Stoke rejected by the Potters, PA Sport understands.

Jones was fined the equivalent of two weeks' wages in January after he sent Stoke boss Mark Hughes a text message on the night before the Barclays Premier League match against Liverpool to say he was unavailable for selection.

It is understood Jones went back to Stoke last week to argue the level of his fine was unjust, but Potters chairman Peter Coates has since concluded that not to be the case and that the 29-year-old player can now either pay up or take the matter to the Premier League.

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