Everton produced a second stirring comeback at Goodison with the same result as previously against Southampton to win 3-1 against Burnley. The Blues have climbed up to fourth in the Premier League table with ten points from four fixtures in a flying start to Rafa Benitez’ tenure as the manager of the Toffees.
Only the most cynical of Blues remain unconvinced by the former Liverpool boss who has gotten pretty much the same side from Carlo Ancelotti playing a more vibrant, pressing style that has led to goals aplenty so far.
The biggest impacts though have come from two of the more unheralded signings of the summer. In a transfer window where players moved for eyewatering nine-figure sums, it’s the pair that were signed for a combined £1.7 million that have now combined for 5 goals and 2 assists in all competitions.
Speaking after the game to the BBC, Benitez praised the pair for not just their performances on the night -
“Both Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend have quality and both are good professionals. They are keen to learn, even Andros at his age is still trying to understand and improve his game.
“The main thing in this team, everybody said we needed wingers and have very good strikers. So then if you can deliver they will score goals. Today Richarlison did a great job even though he didn’t score or have the chances he could have, and the two wingers helped the strikers to play better.”
Benitez had indicated before the game that striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin was struggling with his broken toe and a thigh muscle issue and would miss some time, but the Blues were still scoring in bunches despite his absence.
“He broke his toe and then was training with pain, playing with injections. It was quite difficult when he was not training, and missing a number of training sessions the other players were doing. He now has a problem with his quadriceps and we will have to see.
“It’s important for any team if you want to be stronger you need players who can score goals, not just one player. As I said before, Richarlison is a very good striker and he can play as a winger. The wingers are scoring goals, the centrebacks also.
“For me everybody has to score goals, midfielders also. Hopefully now our new addition Salomon Rondon will also score goals. So I think it is important to have a lot of players with this possibility [to score goals] and the team will be stronger.”
Colombian superstar James Rodriguez had said earlier on his Twitch that he was fit and ready for selection but did not make the squad. Does the absence of Calvert-Lewin change anything around his contributions?
“It doesn’t change too much, we are talking about strikers — and we have Richarlison and Rondon at the moment — and we are talking about wingers, even Demarai Gray he can play between the lines.
“Nobody can argue about the quality of James but what I said before, he is behind the others. If the team continues to play like that it will not be easy for him [to play].”