Allardyce content with victory but sees room for improvement

Wednesday, 13 December, 2017 0comments  |  Jump to last

Sam Allardyce reflected with satisfaction on Everton's fourth win in five games in all competitions and their first away from home following the 1-0 victory over Newcastle United but wants more when his side have the ball.

Wayne Rooney scored a typical poacher's goal, reacting quicker than anyone to prod home the loose ball after Karl Darlow had spilled Aaron Lennon's 27th-minute header.

And a stubborn defensive stand against the Magpies' diminishing attacking efforts, coupled with some fortune as Mark Ritchie and Mikel Merino each saw shots hammer back off the post in the first half, helped the Blues hold on to register three more important points.

“We came here to open Newcastle up whenever we could and exploit their defensive weaknesses which have been apparent over the last six games,” Allardyce told evertontv's Darren Griffiths afterwards.

“They've lost all six so there wasn't a lot of confidence there so if we got at the back line as often and as quickly as we possibly could then there would be a chance for us to score today. Gratefully that chance came to us first and we could get in the lead.

“We had a bit of a slow start as I think there was a bit of tiredness left in the legs from the effort on Sunday. Newcastle had the extra day to recover and they made a lot of changes to the team as well so they had fresher legs.

“But our lads with their experience and as a defensive unit limited Newcastle, shut the crowd up, kept them quiet and Wayne Rooney pops up with a goal. That experience and reading of the situation… it was only Wayne who decided for himself that he would just take the chance to run in in case the ‘keeper spilled it. He did and he put it in the back iof the n

“After that, Gylfi would be a little bit disappointed he didn't score tonight which is good news. He's getting in those areas and we all know how good he is at scoring normally.

“And young Dom (Calvert-Lewin) up front is getting better. He seems to cope with the pressure and he held it up well.

“So, all in all, I think the overall performance in possession could have been better but the defending most of the time was very, very good. And some of our play when we did play it right was a bit more encouraging and is something more to on from going forward to [the] Swansea [game].”

Allardyce was asked about the impressive form of Mason Holgate who came into the side in his natural position at centre-half for the home game against West Ham and has kept his place despite both Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka recovering from injury in the interim.

The manager was fulsome of his praise of the entire rearguard, and not just in tonight's match.

“Well apart from being too good looking to be a centre half, I'm very, very pleased [with how he's been performing],” Allardyce quipped about Holgate.

“I think the young man, along with Ashley Williams, Jonjoe Kenny and [Cuco] Martina have given us a solid defensive base with Jordan Pickford to go on and win the game.

“With these lads defending really, really well, nobody seems to be able to get through [the back four] or around it so I'm really pleased with that. It gives the creative lads more opportunity to get the ball and create and move the ball and try to get more goals.”


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