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Benitez says Calvert-Lewin is still not fully fit yet

The striker has been struggling with a toe injury since the preseason

Leeds United v Everton - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Everton twice went ahead at Elland Road but allowed Leeds United to draw level both times roared on by their home support in a thrilling 2-2 game. Speaking after the game, manager Rafa Benitez was pleased with his side picking up four points from the six on offer, the tenth consecutive season the Blues did not lose either of their two opening games.

“We could have won today, we fought for every ball and little-by-little we had more chances and more control in the game. But, we were also under pressure against a really good team so I’m really pleased with how we reacted and the commitment of the players.

“We’ve had 17 attempts away from home, some really clear chances. Overall we did well against a good team. Hopefully we can continuing improving.

“Marcelo [Bielsa] has been working with his team for three years, we’ve had six weeks here so I’m expecting us to improve but I was really pleased.

“We were expecting the team to start well this season. This was always going to be a difficult game so I’m pleased with four points out of six.”

Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin won a penalty that he dusted himself off to convert and put the Blues up 1-0 in the first half, and now has two in two games to match the hot start he had last season. However, he also missed a couple of sitters with the Toffees ahead 2-1 and Benitez was asked if that was a concern for him.

“No, I was happy because he was there and he had the chances. “It was more about his fitness. He has had some problems training. Little by little he is improving. He knows he needs to improve his fitness and it will be a question of time.”

The manager then went on to add that the toe injury Calvert-Lewin had suffered during the preseason and saw him miss the last preseason game at Manchester United was still not fully cleared up.

“He’s had a problem with his toe. He has not been doing full training sessions in the last 10 days. That is the reason why. You can see the quality he has but he is missing a little bit of the stamina to finish the games in the way he wants to finish them.

“I am really pleased because of that. He wants to train and he wants to play, but he couldn’t train normally. I am pleased to see him making an effort, his partnership with Richarlison is very good. He is making an effort and showing his commitment.”

The 24-year-old is no stranger to criticism from Evertonians for his finishing, but that seemed to have quietened down after his stellar form last season. Still, until he develops more consistency in front of net, there will continue to be a glass half full — glass half empty perspective on the striker.