After a start to the season where Everton seemed to be letting everyone they played score at least twice against them, the Blues have now put together two clean sheets in a row against a pair of free-scoring teams aspiring to be top of the Premier League.
Speaking after the Leicester City win, manager Carlo Ancelotti was quick to commend the team spirit, something he has talked about often this season whether the Toffees have been winning or losing.
“The three points keep us in a good position in the table, the performance, and the fact that for the second game we did not concede a goal. Also for the fact that Richarlison scored a goal. That’s it – that’s enough!
“We confirmed the good things that we did against Chelsea: solidity at the back, strong fighting spirit and the team helping each other on the pitch. It was really good.
“There are a lot of reasons. All the players have understood that we need to work together defensively, we also have to consider the work that [Dominic] Calvert-Lewin and [Gylfi] Sigurdsson did defensively. It was really important, as was the fact our midfield works really closely with our defence.”
Abdoulaye Doucoure had an incredible game yesterday, and even more so in the second half after Allan left the game injured. As his heat map shows, the midfielder was everywhere and stepped in to become the team’s dynamo in the Brazilian’s absence.
“It was his best performance [for Everton]. He was really intelligent defensively, he understood what to do and also with the ball he had some acceleration that were good for our counter-attacks.”
Speaking of Allan, Ancelotti tried to strike an optimistic note about when he would be back. Players with hamstring tears tend to have about a 4-6 week absence, but that would really depend on the grade of the tear.
“It was not a perfect night as Allan had an injury. It’s a hamstring injury. We have to check in the next few days but, for sure, he will stay out although not so long, I think.
“But we have to consider that [Andre] Gomes came on the pitch and had a good performance.”
Everton were able to kill off the game with a goal off a setpiece, an area the Blues have been very effective at for some time now.
“We are really strong at set pieces because the delivery from Sigurdsson is very good and we also have tall players. We knew we could be dangerous because Leicester are not one of the tallest teams.”
Another player that came in for praise from the boss was Alex Iwobi, who has put together a series of decent showings in different positions lately.
“It’s his [Iwobi’s] best moment since I arrived [at Everton]. He is showing confidence, is really good in one-versus-one situations and is working hard. The key is to work hard – the team is working hard.
“I said to the players that we have to be satisfied for tonight but we have to work and we have to improve.”