Liverpool (AFP) – Everton manager Roberto Martinez has defended Newcastle United's close-season transfer dealings, ahead of Monday's Premier League meeting between the clubs at Goodison Park.
Newcastle made only one major acquisition during the transfer window, signing Loic Remy on loan from Queens Park Rangers, and crashed 4-0 at Manchester City on the season's opening weekend.
However, they have since climbed the table to 15th and Martinez feels that Newcastle manager Alan Pardew's squad has been unfairly underestimated.
"As I've mentioned many, many times, the transfer window 'circus' allows people to have perceptions of teams that are wrong," said the Everton manager.
"They made their business early with the loan of Remy and after that they didn't sign anyone. It seemed from the outside that they didn't do good business, but the reality is the squad has been strong since January. They made a lot of good signings and that group of players are settled.
"I see a really good balance between experience and organisation, but then a real threat with the likes of Remy, (Papiss) Cisse, (Hatem) Ben Arfa, (Yohan) Cabaye.
"You're talking about top, top footballers who are in a good moment in their careers and full internationals.
"You take away the Manchester City game and they've been performing at a very, very good level, so it would be foolish for anyone to underestimate the potential of this Newcastle side."
Everton preserved their unbeaten record with a 3-2 win at West Ham United last weekend and Martinez hopes the atmosphere of an evening game will help his side maintain their early momentum.
"It reverts back to a proper, classic environment to enjoy your football," said the Spaniard, whose side beat Chelsea in their last home game.
"The special feeling that floodlights brings to Goodison is quite unique and that's when all the players look forward to playing those sort of games."
Pardew has praised captain Fabricio Coloccini, who appears to have digested the disappointment of being denied a move to former club San Lorenzo during the January transfer window.
Asked to describe the Argentina international's importance, Pardew said: "I don't know how to put that into words, really. He is very, very important, a very steady, calming influence.
"Last year when he wasn't playing, there was something missing from the team. That's why it's so important that he stayed, and hopefully he will stay for a lot longer than this year as well."
With French defenders Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Mathieu Debuchy beginning their first full seasons at the club, Coloccini has had an important role marshalling Newcastle's new-look defence.
"We have got a new back four this year because Mapou has played all year, and Colo, Mathieu and Davide (Santon)," said Pardew.
"That's been our back four, with (goalkeeper) Tim (Krul), quite settled. Thank goodness, and long may that continue."