Everton put in a solid performance at home against Manchester United in Saturday’s early kickoff, and finally saw some bounces go their way as well, to pick up a crucial win in their relegation battle. The Blues needed a strong showing from a number of players, none more important than England #1 Jordan Pickford who made a couple of excellent saves to preserve the points.
However, the lone goal of the game came from youngster Anthony Gordon who started out on the right wing and again put in a shift, running hard with the ball and tracking back to defend on the wing that the Red Devils focused most of their attacks on. His speculative shot from distance, set up by a neat Alex Iwobi lay-off, took a fortuitous bounce off United captain Harry Maguire and wrong-footed David De Gea in the visitor’s goal in the 27th minute, and some resolute defending from the Blues made that stand.
Speaking after the game, Frank Lampard was very pleased with Gordon’s showing, and compared him to a couple of shining young lights in the English game.
“He’s a top young player with a great attitude and a great hunger. He loves the club, he loves coming to training every day. He loves the idea of scoring goals and making assists, and he’s on himself. If he doesn’t do that he wants more which is brilliant to see in a young player.
“It’s a difference, there’s a great batch of young players we have in this country - Mason Mount, Phil Foden, they have this extra attitude that makes them what they are, and he’s one of those.”
Defensive midfielder Fabian Delph started the game after four months out due to injury and it was a welcome return to the game as his experience and poise were sorely missed.
“Yeah we’ve missed him. It’s something that goes unnoticed in every club and every manager will bemoan it, we’ve got injuries, we’ve got problems, but with the attributes and the balance of our squad, having one or two defensive midfielders out of the side for whatever reason it’s tough for us because we don’t have them there. You take that for granted when they are there and Delph gave us a sense of calm, his positional behaviours — like when a centreback is out of position he falls into the backline.
“He was great today, and can get his well-deserved rest. I saw his interview today, he can get his rest for a few days!”
Richarlison was tireless again on the left wing and at one point even played keepy-uppies with the ball as he ran down the sideline, and Lampard was asked if he’d do that during his playing days.
“No you don’t. I was ready to go old-school on him and tell him off for it, but I’m not going to. He does what he does here, and the fans love him because he gives everything. He runs five little keepy-uppie headers but that’s not for me if he gives it away after that, but he had a good day.”
The manager did maintain perspective, fully aware that this victory would not be enough on its own to seal Premier League survival.
“There’s loads to do, it’s only one win. We know we should have got a result during the week [at Burnley]. We could sit there and go ‘If only...’ because we should have got a result from those performance levels, but we didn’t. That’s the reality when things go against you, you have to keep going.
“It’s not easy when you wake up the next morning after Burnley and my job first and foremost is to lift everyone, be positive for everyone, try and go again.
“They are a good bunch in that dressing room. Seeing them, feeling the way they talk after and what they want. Some people questioned that about them, come and watch how they played today, bodies on the line, Demarai Gray making blocks in front of Jordan at the end. It’s just one win, still lots to do.”