Roberto Martinez says Samuel Eto’O’s experience proved effective as Everton drew 1-1 at Krasnodar in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Premier League club were second-best in Russia and waited until the 82nd meeting to draw level courtesy of the experienced European campaigner Eto’O.
The Cameroonian, 33, found space in the box to tap home Leighton Baines’ cross- his 45th European goal in 111 appearances.
Martinez said: “I think Samuel had the necessary experience and we’ll learn a lot from the game as a group. Europe is about going into the unknown.”
The strike was Eto’O’s second for the Goodison Park outfit since arriving in the summer.
Brazilian forward Ari had opened scoring for Krasnodar three minutes to the half-time break, when he capitalised on a mistake by Phil Jagielka.
The ‘Toffees’ were pegged back into their own half in the opening 20 minutes and conceded when Jagielka failed to clear Odil Ahmedov’s pass, allowing Ari through on goal to place the hosts ahead.
Krasnodar substitute Wanderson almost doubled the scoreline after the interval, but hooked his shot against the crossbar.
While Martinez’s intact defensive line-up from last weekend’s Merseyside derby struggled to fend off Krasnodar’s attack; it boiled down to Eto’O’s experience with the striker positioning himself right inside the box to poke home the equaliser.
“The experience we have in the squad is really important for us and it’s been a fantastic learning curve for us as a group,” the Spaniard explained.
“To come to a place like today, where you don’t really know what to expect and where you can’t really be yourselves and do what you are good at, it’s tough.
“Then, it’s just about the experience of waiting for your moment and keeping composed.
Everton now have four points from two games following their opening Europa League win over German side Wolfsburg and retain Group H poll position.