Everton have not done a thing in an easy and straightforward manner this season, so it was no surprise to anyone really that they assured their continued presence in the Premier League in a dramatic comeback the likes of which they had not managed since April 1977.
The Blues had gone into the break down 2-0 against Crystal Palace, a side that had already beaten them twice handily this season. Frank Lampard’s inspiring halftime speech seemed to spark the Toffees back to life.
Much-maligned Michael Keane has had a big part to play in the Blues resurgence over the last few weeks, and cemented himself into the club’s history with his goal last night to make the score 2-1. He expertly controlled Mason Holgate’s headed ball and then stabbed home with his right foot in a finish that many a striker would have envied.
Speaking after the final whistle, the 29-year-old was still on cloud nine.
“We always spoke about keeping that belief. We have come back from 2-0 before. If we got that early goal our fans would take us there.
“Our fans were unbelievable and I’ve never heard anything like it. Pure relief, it has been a hard season but so proud how the club has come together the last six weeks and a platform we need to build on and make sure it never happens again.
“I am buzzing for Dom, it has been a tough period but he has shown his commitment and his quality.
“We know this is something we never want to happen again. But you can’t help but get caught up in the emotion. A special moment.”
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Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Michael Keane react to an unforgettable night for Everton pic.twitter.com/N0X12XlQSz
The defender expounded more on that sense of belief.
“First half was tough. They were getting out and away from our press. They scored two goals that were avoidable. But we spoke at half-time about having belief. Luckily we did that quickly and the crowd got behind us. Richy [Richarlison] scored and I always thought we’d get one more chance.
“We had to keep plugging away as they are a good team are Palace. But getting one, we knew the crowd would get behind us. Luckily we took them. To finish how we have in the last six weeks, the lads deserve credit, as do the fans and manager.
“We’ve had our mentality questioned and how much we care. It hurt. We care about this club more than anything else in the world. We have let the fans down a lot this season. But you could see out there what it means to all the players. We did not want to take this club down.”
For now the Blues have to focus on one more game on Sunday, away at Arsenal, before Frank Lampard, Kevin Thelwell and the rest of the club leadership can start working on the squad for next season.