Everton won only their second away game of the season yesterday, beating 10-man Stoke City 2-1 thanks to two well-taken goals by Cenk Tosun. The Blues manager Sam Allardyce had criticized the Turkish striker soon after his signing in the January transfer window, saying that Tosun was struggling with the weather and was off the pace.
But now after the ‘war bull’ has potted four times in three games, Big Sam has certainly changed his tune and as expected, is taking the credit for the striker’s good form.
“He’s adapted much quicker than lots of front men who came from abroad into the Premier League, particularly in January. Taking him out of the firing line and giving him the opportunity to get to know the players – particularly in Dubai – do the extra training he’s done, we’re seeing the full benefits of that now.
“He did it last week against Brighton and he’s the major reason why we won today. He’s always had the finishing in his locker. His hold-up play has got better. He’s got the whole array of finishing in his locker – heading, left foot, right foot, tap-ins, follow-ups – he’s got this knack of being in the right place at the right time and he was certainly that with the quality of his second finish.
“It looks like he’s got that knack. He seems to be born with that instinct of where to be.”
A trip to Stoke is always challenging even under normal conditions, but the driving snow made things tougher even though the home side were reduce to 10 men after the half-hour mark following a wild sliding challenge by Charlie Adam.
“I’ve never experienced conditions like those, either as a player or manager.
“Mastering the conditions was important and both sets of players did their best to make it an entertaining game and because of the quality of our frontman today we won the game and secured another three points, gladly away from home.
“It was going to be difficult in those conditions to break down the 10 men of Stoke so we had to create the opportunities and take advantage. That became easier as the second half went on because we started to probe that little bit quicker.
“As the game wore on those spaces opened up and we capitalised on them. What you want is the top-quality marksman to turn the game in your favour and Cenk has done that.
“The only thing we’ve slipped up on is giving Stoke the free-kick which we lost the goal from. We made up for it with Cenk scoring the winner for us.”
So there’s Sam Allardyce for you, always here to take the credit when Everton win but equally ready to blame someone else when the Blues lose.