Everton lost on penalties yesterday to kickoff their preseason friendly schedule in Kenya against Kariobangi Sharks.
The hosts harried and pressed the Blues midfield in the first half, isolating the forward line and were good value for their first half goal. However, a smart freekick from midfielder Joe Williams drew the Blues level and it finished 1-1 at fulltime. With the SportPesa Trophy at stake, a penalty shootout ensued where Williams and Dennis Adeniran saw their spotkicks saved for the Sharks to win.
Speaking after the game to evertontv, Marco Silva was happy to have had a competitive game under their belts.
“The most important thing for us was that it was a competitive game. It was a first pre-season match for us, and it was good environment to play in.
“We tried to give 45 minutes to all of our players. Unfortunately for us, Ademola had an injury in the first half. It was the only bad thing of the match.
”The game was everything we expected. It was the first time they played against a Premier League team, and they played a good game.”
The sellout 64,829 and possibly more crowd ensured that the games was played in a raucous environment, something that was not lost on Silva.
“The atmosphere was very good. It [the atmosphere] gave the opposition high motivation to play, which was good for us, too.
“Coming here and creating a strong relationship with the African supporters is very important for our club.
“We enjoyed it a lot.”
Silva also provided an update to the Echo on the Kurt Zouma situation -
“I am hopeful. I think I am hopeful like all of our fans are but I have to tell you that we have different solutions because we cannot just have one solution.
“I have different solutions in my mind but I am hopeful and if we can give our fans this fantastic feeling it will be key.
“But, if not, we have to go in a different way but it is part of the market, part of creating a squad.
“After that position we have three or four more to strengthen.”
For most supporters that statement would ring true, with rightback, forward and likely another midfielder and central defender the areas he would have in mind.
He also expressed his satisfaction at having captured the permanent signing of midfielder Andre Gomes.
“Fantastic, fantastic news for us, I have no doubts about that. Not just because we sign a fantastic football player but also a fantastic professional, a fantastic lad who really enjoyed last season with us.
“Our fans, they love him, and it is really important we sign players that make our fans really happy because, at the end, this relationship will make a big difference, this connection with the players.
“It was my aim when I finished the season to keep the level and until now we have signed Andre and you know what is in my mind also, and it will be really important if we achieve that and after we have the three or four positions to strengthen our squad also.”