Everton beat the Premier League defending champions Leicester City in their own home 2-0 earlier today. While the Foxes were weakened by suspensions and chose to rest some key members, they dominated play in the first half and only as the game proceeded did the Blues work their way back into the proceedings.
In a characteristically ‘Leicester City-like©’ performance, the Toffees sat back, defended in hordes and relied on the counter attack to sting their hosts. It was Route One football to thank for the two Everton goals, with long passes upfield for Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku respectively getting the job done.
After the match, manager Ronald Koeman was effusive in his praise for the team’s workrate.
“We did a good job today. The team was aggressive, we defended well, we were compact in the second half.
“You saw in the game the difference between the beginning - when we were a little bit nervous and not comfortable on the ball. There was space to play between the lines and we did not make the right decisions, but that was much better in the second half.
“The team was more confident after going 1-0 up.”
Koeman also talked about the formation change that allowed the Blues to finally make an impression in the game.
“[Leicester] changed their system a little bit and we started with four at the back. We defended well and were dangerous on the counter-attack. The big chance for Gana [in the second half] was a key moment to kill the game but finally Romelu did.
“It's a little more comfortable to play with three at the back, and you can keep the ball and play it to the left and right, it makes the opposition run more than they do normally.
“Defending, we know they play direct and with second balls, and with three at the back it's a little more comfortable when you are up against two strikers.
“We like to play out from the back but if the opponent is pressing then we don't take risks to play.
“In the first half we could play out from the back as they didn't press us, but in the second half they did more pressing and then you need to play the long ball, push up and fight for second balls.
“We won a lot of battles in the second half and that was good. Then you make it very difficult for the opponent.”
Maarten Stekelenburg’s replacement Joel Robles was confident in the box, and played a big part in nullifying Leicester’s aerial attack.
“Joel did very well today. He was important, he made some good saves and was comfortable with crosses. That gives the team confidence and we were strong.
“We dominated the game, they did not create big chances to score and we deserved the three points.”