Everton defied expectations by putting in a second consecutive high-intensity performance in a row, maintaining their defensive discipline from the weekend to hold off hosts Leicester City and come away with a 2-0 win.
The Toffees battled hard and though they gave the Foxes a couple of good sights at goal, overall they were exceptional again in terms of intensity and picked up another deserved clean sheet, and another deserved three points.
Speaking after the game manager Carlo Ancelotti reflected on what has been an exceptional week so far.
“Yes, a good week. We found consistency defensively and that was the reason for these two results.
“Another very good result that keeps us with a lot of confidence, ambition and motivation. The season is long but this moment it’s good.”
Richarlison’s paucity of goals even though he’s upped his shots per game has been befuddling, so it was a relief to all to see his shot from distance bobble past Kasper Schmeichel for the opening goal today.
“He was a little bit worried because he didn’t score in the past games. The work he has done in the past games, even though he didn’t score, has been really important for us.”
Mason Holgate put an exclamation mark on the result banging home from a goalmouth melee, his first goal for Everton in the Premier League, coming in his 69th game.
“As a performance the second half was not as good as the first half. We were 1-0 up and focused on defending.
“We had the opportunity on setpieces where we are really strong because we have tall players, and Mason Holgate was ready. We have to say Schmeichel made a fantastic save on Calvert-Lewin (before Holgate’s goal).”
The win pushes the Toffees up to fifth place in the league with 23 points, and Ancelotti reiterated again that the club are in a good position.
“We are where we want to be, to fight for a position in Europe. If the season finished today we are in European competition, but unfortunately the season didn’t finish!
“We have to fight, the spirit of the team is good at this moment.”
The win was tinged with some bad news after midfielder Allan picked up a recurrence of his hamstring ailment, and had to be stretchered off the pitch before the break.
“Yes, he had the problem and we have to check in the next few days how long he has to be out. I hope he can recover soon.
“We have back Seamus Coleman. Andre Gomes replaced Allan really well today. Unfortunately in this period injuries will happen. We have a busy time with a lot of games and sometimes this can happen.”
Jordan Pickford was rested today, with Robin Olsen getting the start and the clean sheet.
“Just to rotate the players and keep him involved. He’s a serious professional, good goalkeeper with experience and that’s it. Saturday will be Jordan in goal.”