Abdoulaye Doucouré has credited Rafael Benitez for some of the improvements in his game that lie behind his terrific start to the new season.
The Frenchman has already matched his tally of Premier League goals from last term with strikes against Southampton and Norwich City, a reflection of a more box-to-box approach under the new manager that has reaped dividends so far.
Doucouré has dovetailed effectively with Allan in midfield from a defensive perspective but he has come alive in the final third, weighing in with three assists already on the campaign.
“I am very happy with the games I've played this season and I am learning with the manager every day,” Doucouré told evertonfc.com. “Everything changed in my game and my understanding of the game improved.
“The manager gave me a lot of advice — simple advice that makes a difference — and I try to take that on the pitch and help the team as much as I can.”
Doucouré admitted that mistakes were made in what has been the Blues' only League defeat thus far, a 3-0 reverse at Aston Villa that looked more emphatic judging from the scoreline than things actually were on the day. However, he was happy that the team bounced back against Norwich last Saturday and hopes Everton can build on that when they travel to Old Trafford this weekend.
“We had to learn from what happened at Aston Villa.,” he explained. “The Premier League is very tough and you have to be 100 per cent in every aspect.
“The margins were really fine in that game but there were things we should have done better.
“It was a setback but it was really important we kept working hard to continue the momentum we built from the start of the season.
“It is a very good start, we have a massive game at the weekend and all the focus this week is on having a very good result at United. We feel very good and are happy with the number of points we have but it is only the beginning and we have to keep working to improve.”
Reader Comments (80)
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1 Posted 30/09/2021 at 05:41:45
2 Posted 30/09/2021 at 05:46:47
3 Posted 30/09/2021 at 06:21:06
4 Posted 30/09/2021 at 06:42:59
And if he says Rafa has made the difference, I'll just have to believe him.
5 Posted 30/09/2021 at 06:45:16
6 Posted 30/09/2021 at 07:24:00
As for Doucouré improving, he was fantastic at Watford, I kept telling my sons I wish we'd buy him. Without doubt, Benitez is giving him licence to do what he's good at – using his power, pace and athleticism to influence the game. However, don't read too much into these snippets, just arse-kissing with a new manager.
I think it's going to be a hard slog and let's not judge Benitez too quickly. I can see some very poor results coming but again that doesn't mean Benitez is shite.
By end of September last year, Carlo's Blues were a better outfit than Benitez's Blues and then we were pretty much crap the rest of the season bar a win against Spurs in the cup.
It will take Benitez a while to get the players he wants and team playing how he wants. So far so good, yes, I agree... but it's a long season.
7 Posted 30/09/2021 at 07:34:53
8 Posted 30/09/2021 at 07:46:38
I do believe that last season Ancelotti was rather lazy in his formations and his lack of dynamism in encouraging players to attack in numbers, perhaps not helped by a lack of pace in wide area's.
The goal Doucouré scored against Norwich, that goal wouldn't have happened at Goodison last season because for the last 16 home matches we stopped committing players to attack.
9 Posted 30/09/2021 at 08:15:39
I just hope that what we are seeing and hearing now is the start of the process.
10 Posted 30/09/2021 at 09:21:06
Sounds a bit of a backhanded compliment but these sorts of players, like Gray and Townsend, can provide the building blocks of a very good side.
11 Posted 30/09/2021 at 09:27:10
Good point regarding the player's improvement, in particular, he seems to be less prone to giving away possession with mis-placed short passing, which was a flaw to his game last season.
He seems to have a new lease of life in a more progressive role, and has shown he can both provide assists and finishes. A big bonus, and crucially important given injuries to our star forwards.
It remains to be seen how Everton will fare against Manchester United with such a depleted squad, but the improvement in midfield play overall this season has been marked, when compared to the final third of last season.
Building on your point, Mike, it is a credit to Doucouré that he accepts he has improved with coaching; he is now becoming a very important player, and it also helps that he continues to link well with Allan.
12 Posted 30/09/2021 at 09:46:01
When I think back to the great players who changed the way their team played without instruction from the manager who in those days sat in the stand to watch the game.
Today, with managers on the touchline shouting orders, reminds me of watching kids play, so they spend 5 days a week on the training ground and yet they still need the manager to constantly remind them of what they should be doing... a bit pathetic really.
13 Posted 30/09/2021 at 10:15:15
14 Posted 30/09/2021 at 10:15:22
He looks fitter, leaner and his passing, which reminded me of Carlton Palmer last season, has improved considerably. I remember Howard Wilkinson describing Carlton Palmer, saying "He covered every blade of grass on the park because his first touch was shite." This was a bit like Doucouré last season.
15 Posted 30/09/2021 at 10:20:00
I like Doucoure's statement about simple advice. In this day and age of over analysis of football, complete with Carragher's swipe button, rewind, pause, fast forward etc, it's very easy to forget that sometimes football is actually a simple game played in the moment.
Derek, I hope he can do something with Iwobi, because there is a footballer in there somewhere. I have no idea where, but there is. Gbamin too, but will he ever be fit? And now he's in the shit disciplinary wise, so not looking good for him. Let's hope. Delph - no thank you. For me he's gone already; he was a long time ago.
On the Villa game. Again, it's football. You win some, you lose some. You have good days, bad days, lucky days and unlucky days. We rightfully judge each game, but ultimately it's where we are in May that matters.
Don't forget Anfield Peter. That was a great result and pretty good performance. I can still see James' pass, but also, the not as much talked about Tom Davies swivel on the edge of our box, look up and direct forward pass into the path of Richarlison who then fed Calvert-Lewin to win the decisive penalty.
16 Posted 30/09/2021 at 10:46:57
It must make such a difference to players when they get used to closing down a game with 20 minutes to go, by the end of the season you would think they would have so much more in the tank than the poor buggers still panicking at minute 95 every week.
17 Posted 30/09/2021 at 11:13:41
No sign of Richarlison but you never know. I agree, the manager appears to be getting a tune out of a number of last season's players early doors, particularly the central midfield two. Doucouré appears to have had the shackles taken off, that the Italian (can't bring myself to mention his name) put on him last season & looks more like the player I saw at Watford, putting out fires & then marauding forward.
Along with Gray & Townsend, absolutely outstanding in the first few games, long may it continue.
18 Posted 30/09/2021 at 11:19:15
I was genuinely worried after reading a report in the Echo (I think?) that Everton now have a midfield that is the envy of many clubs, just before we go to play on the wide open spaces of Old Trafford.
19 Posted 30/09/2021 at 11:29:31
I saw that, great to see them both on the training ground. As they were not part of he main training session I don't think they will be involved on Saturday. We will be looking strong after the international break.
Calling our TW scouting department. Linked today with the young Spanish , Roma midfielder Gonzalo Villar. From what I have read one of his main attributes is driving forward with the ball from midfield initiating attacks at pace. Anyone know anything about him. I think there could be some mileage in this one, Benitez will know all about him.
20 Posted 30/09/2021 at 11:40:45
I think this will be the profile of player we focus on for the time being – age 23 to 25, looking for a step up or chance to play more football, relatively low cost.
Baines, Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar and others all fell into that sort of category and formed the basis of a very good side under Moyes.
But seems an unlikely signing in January unless we offload Gomes maybe.
21 Posted 30/09/2021 at 12:06:24
This is just Doucouré being wheeled out by EvertonFC. com.
22 Posted 30/09/2021 at 15:11:00
Villar appears to be a quicker version of Gomes with a slightly better short passing ability based on his YouTube vids. Very limited goal threat?
Seems he is deemed not good enough for Roma's first team, but I would still have him rather than Gomes as his extra pace in midfield would help us a lot alongside Allan and Doucouré in a three man midfield and he would provide cover for Doucouré or Allan off the bench in a 4-2-4 type set up.
I can see Gomes being on the way out in January to a league operating at a much slower pace that suits him more.
23 Posted 30/09/2021 at 16:27:46
Gerrard said the same about Rafa.
24 Posted 30/09/2021 at 16:28:01
25 Posted 30/09/2021 at 16:44:28
All players learn from different coaches all through their careers. Great players went to Barcelona at ages of 20 to 28 and failed under Pep because they could not grasp his way of playing they could not learn the way he wants players to play the game.
26 Posted 30/09/2021 at 16:46:59
27 Posted 30/09/2021 at 16:49:22
Good to see a player step up and say what needed to be said and give credit where credit is due. Rafa appears to have won over what was a dysfunctional squad. Perhaps he can get some stability in positions without too many injury setbacks and continue to contribute to the players' form. They clearly relish the chance to improve with more structure and direct instructions.
28 Posted 30/09/2021 at 16:50:59
I will comment again in December too if my hunch is on course.
30 Posted 30/09/2021 at 17:23:05
It is too soon to judge the future, but Benitez appears to have the correct approach and tactics to allow each player to improve his position in a team effort, and here is hoping without naming names, he can improve a few more to a better standard.
31 Posted 30/09/2021 at 17:33:18
Agree. On "tosh" and "learning".
32 Posted 30/09/2021 at 17:34:28
33 Posted 30/09/2021 at 17:49:43
Don't tell us you are improved, show us and do it over a period of time – not a couple of matches.
If the game was played with the gob, we'd be perenial Champions League qualifiers
35 Posted 30/09/2021 at 18:22:36
True Grit, and reliable. over the course of every game this season and then to review.
Saturday will be a t of fitness, desire and character at a United and its the minimum needed.
I really Doucoure, has a stormer and All the team, and they turn up, and play United off the park.
36 Posted 30/09/2021 at 18:33:28
Thanks for your insight.
It's a good point, it would be more good business if we could get a move for Gomes that suited him and brought Villar in. If Benitez fancies him he could improve this lad's game too. A loan deal in January with an option to buy could be another shrewd manoeuvre.
37 Posted 30/09/2021 at 19:39:55
38 Posted 30/09/2021 at 20:07:51
39 Posted 30/09/2021 at 20:19:08
Hes had an extremely lucky/easy fixture list so far lets see how we do against sterner opposition in the coming weeks.
40 Posted 30/09/2021 at 20:19:30
I think we have had a surplus of octagonal pegs that needed rounding... or expensive kindling..
41 Posted 30/09/2021 at 20:23:50
42 Posted 30/09/2021 at 20:28:28
43 Posted 30/09/2021 at 20:38:07
The stars aligned for once, and I predict we will enjoy more and more of the rub of the green as he settles in.
44 Posted 30/09/2021 at 20:46:02
You will be pleased to know that a toast to absent friends took place in The Bramley Moore, and your uncle Tommy was singled out for special mention. It wasn't the intention to ignore others, it was simply because his was the latest death we knew of.
I trust you are in the best of health and looking forward to returning home, I'm sure that your attendance at one of the get-togethers would be welcomed.
45 Posted 30/09/2021 at 20:57:59
I'm pleasantly surprised by the more positive tactics Rafa has adopted, but if he loses on Saturday (and we have to accept we might) He will have lost three out of four and the pressure will build far more quickly on him than it did on Carlo.
Tough weeks ahead of Rafa. If he comes through unbruised I think he can relax and start to enjoy the job
47 Posted 30/09/2021 at 21:12:53
Fingers crossed for an unlikely result tomorrow it would do me the world of good!
48 Posted 30/09/2021 at 21:14:21
Leighton Baines has no doubts he's learning from manager Roberto Martinez. Gareth Barry recently suggested that even at 33, Martinez was still broadening his education and Baines was quick to share those sentiments.
"I would definitely agree with Gareth," he said. "As a group I think everyone will have learnt a lot from the manager.
"I have never worked under anyone like him. He is always introducing new things and he has so many ideas about how to play the game.
"I think we are all still learning and for someone like Gaz - with the experience he has - to have said what he did, you can get no higher praise than that."
Leon Osman is enjoying life under Robert Martinez.
"Its been new, its been challenging but its been good. Its different to learn new systems; we are learning "
The 32-year-old is looking forward to Evertons pre-season tour of the United States.
49 Posted 30/09/2021 at 21:26:19
50 Posted 30/09/2021 at 21:31:26
The footy fans will simply talk about footy.
51 Posted 30/09/2021 at 22:11:22
52 Posted 30/09/2021 at 22:17:28
53 Posted 30/09/2021 at 22:23:09
Can't imagine why anyone on TW would imagine I was referring to them personally but, "if the cap fits, etc etc"!
54 Posted 30/09/2021 at 22:35:18
I'll make it my resolution to share an evening with you and fellow Toffebbers in The Bramley Moore. Best Wishes John.
55 Posted 30/09/2021 at 22:43:26
56 Posted 30/09/2021 at 22:45:47
Afraid we all suffer from Evertonistis... my GP here, also a recently relocated scouser from Old Swan surgery, Dr Ernst Berhs, assures me he can treat everything else apart from that. Apparently it's genetic, you are born with blue blood...
Best wishes, John!
58 Posted 30/09/2021 at 22:58:08
59 Posted 30/09/2021 at 23:06:34
I guess that is the price for old age and maybe supporting Everton. When I turned 65, I was told I was entering my golden years; unfortunately, mine turned out to be the rusty ones. I have ended up with 1 new knee, 2 heart valves replaced and I wished I only had to inject myself weekly as I inject myself 4 times a day for Type 2 Diabeties.
But I will be there when the new ground opens, and maybe before if this Covid-19 crap clears up, and would love to go to the pub after the game.
60 Posted 30/09/2021 at 23:08:50
Be well kid.
61 Posted 30/09/2021 at 23:40:05
I'm no stranger to a bit of needle as a consequence.
"Evertonitis" (and thanks for the term Christine @ #56) on the other hand that still wracks me!
62 Posted 01/10/2021 at 00:40:19
Also waiting on 2 knee ops from old football injuries. And to think age 14 l was a jujitsu black belt with a back flip into a fighting stance.
However, l had my first thai massage tonight and felt the best l have in 5 years... for all of half an hour.
Bringing me back down to earth is the fact we have Rafa as our manager. From where l sat the last home game, next to Stephen Vincent, a cracking blue met through ToffeeWeb, its near on impossible to aim a disgusting microwaved goodison cheese pie to the back of his head... due to the top tier stand getting in the way.
63 Posted 01/10/2021 at 01:01:35
(1) A good well deserved win can do wonders;
(2) A win no matter how it is achieved worth a general pick me up;
(3) A draw, depending on who we play, can give "mild relief";
(4) A loss can result in significant relapse;
(5) A loss to them, return of suicidal thoughts;
(6) A win against them, complete recovery and a guaranteed 12 months of Bliss, including forgiving anybody you may have slighted on ToffeeWeb.
That only lasts for a week. I must have a guilty conscience.
64 Posted 01/10/2021 at 01:20:39
I don't post on here much as I always feel at least half a day behind the thread and someone else has generally posted what I'm thinking, but I really enjoy reading your posts. Just wanted to wish you all the best with your health.
Aroha from New Zeland.
65 Posted 01/10/2021 at 01:26:19
But never fear – I hear a new hospital for treatment is being built on Dock Road...
66 Posted 01/10/2021 at 01:29:04
Wait, this is New Zealand... we are light-years behind the rest of the world!
Greetings from Kihikihi!
67 Posted 01/10/2021 at 01:30:07
68 Posted 01/10/2021 at 01:33:54
"Try not to get anxious or stressed."
To which I replied, "I'm an Evertonian!"
"Oh," he said... "I will write you a new script."
69 Posted 01/10/2021 at 01:37:40
He's right out of the sock drawer. The dirty rotten kopite sock drawer. With holes.
70 Posted 01/10/2021 at 03:17:25
71 Posted 01/10/2021 at 06:01:32
72 Posted 01/10/2021 at 06:22:49
Evertonitis. Thank you John Senior, I now know what has plagued (blessed) me for my entire life. The dogs worry about my condition. The wife has another word for it. Childishness!!
God speed Christine.
73 Posted 01/10/2021 at 07:46:28
Tomorrow is very interesting, I personally think we defend to deep as a team whoever plays in central defence, so whilst Im expecting us to pack the midfield, with only one half fit centre forward, I just dont know how we are going to get any real possession of the football.
74 Posted 01/10/2021 at 11:21:33
Abdoulaye Doucouré: Evertons New Attacking Threat – Forbes Magazine
James Nalton is the journo. Takes a fairly detailed look at tactical issues and formations that some of our resident experts may have opinions on. I've not seen that name before in the media. Seems like he's a freelance who mostly covers them other lot...
75 Posted 01/10/2021 at 12:05:26
I'm not convinced with the opinion we've been playing 4-4-2. I've not seen that.
When I've seen the lineups, I've thought 4-2-3-1 but with the way Doucoure has been playing, is it a more fluid adaptation of the 4-5-1 formation?
With Allan sat in front of the defence, a 4-1-4-1 if that makes sense before I get lost in numbers?
76 Posted 01/10/2021 at 13:21:27
Can anyone remember a song written by a couple of mad/funny Evertonians, during our great spell in the mid eighties called the toffee-wrap? A song that explained football tactics, and trying to stop a great team better than anything!
78 Posted 01/10/2021 at 17:13:28
Most players prefer playing at pace, with purpose, so no surprise the players look like they're enjoying themselves. What you see on the pitch tells you far, far more than any official interview.
79 Posted 01/10/2021 at 20:24:45
When I first got here in the 90s even the capitol was closed on Sundays - we're catching up slowly. I'm in Lincoln just south of Christchurch btw.
80 Posted 01/10/2021 at 21:37:17
81 Posted 01/10/2021 at 23:53:45
82 Posted 02/10/2021 at 03:08:19
Sitting in the post office cubicles in Putururu, waiting to be connected to Liverpool for 10 mins once a week, seems just as ridiculous... Enjoy the match, Chris!
83 Posted 02/10/2021 at 03:10:01
I remember when I came to Canada in 1976, to Saskatchewan. There was no coverage or scores in any newspapers. I went back to Liverpool for a month in 1978 and paid for the Pink Echo for delivery expecting it every week, but they just sent 4 or 5 copies once a month.
I moved to New Brunswick in 1985 and found an English paper that came from Toronto once a week. It may be the one that Chris #81 is talking about, it was the International Express.
Now, I can get every Premier League game on TV.
85 Posted 02/10/2021 at 05:13:05
88 Posted 02/10/2021 at 07:54:25
So one of our players states that he believes the new manager has improved him, and that's somehow both 'sad' and the player is speaking like a trainee youngster??
Further, that our manager getting involved, barking instructions from the side of the pitch - as opposed to, say, nonchalantly supping his coffee like he couldn't give the slightest shit - means our players need constant coaching, and it's all 'quite pathetic really'??
Fuck me, you really are digging for the most negative crap you can come up with, aren't you??..
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