(Football news) Abdoulaye Doucoure had the best game of his life when he scored a brace of in the first-half goals as Sean Dyche’s relegation-threatened Everton produced a masterclass in counter-attacking football with a surprise 5-1 Premier League win over Brighton & Hove Albion. Last match’s hero, Jason Steele scored an own goal as Dwight McNeil scored two more as Everton destroyed Brighton on the counter attack and then absorbed huge pressure before eventually conceding when Alexis Mac Allister netted a consolation for the home team.
Everton after that shock result moved to 32 points from 35 games as they are now two points clear of the drop zone, as they seek to avoid a first relegation since 1951, while Brighton’s hopes of European football next season were dented and they sit in seventh with 55 points from 33 games. Everton drew 2-2 at Leicester City in their previous game when they created more than enough chances to win, and Dyche believes they gained confidence from that result.
Everton, despite having 23 percent possession in the game, were excellent in breaking down Brighton attacks as they flooded forward on the counter as they scored 10 percent of their Premier League goals this season in the first half itself. Brighton looked very lethargic at the back as they faced the full wrath of Everton’s brilliant attacking display
“They [Brighton] play a particular way with two boxes in midfield. I said to the lads it is about focus. Our tactical shape has been pretty good since I’ve come in here. But it’s about focus when they change their tune and try and pop it around the corner and play neat and tidy,” Everton manager Sean Dyche told BBC. “But equally it’s not just about shadow play, you’ve got to go and break it up and first half we did that so many times. Second half they had a good spell but we calmed that down and I thought we saw the game through very well.”
“A lot of people thought we were good at Leicester, we were very good and conceded soft goals,” he added. “Tonight we got paid back for that performance because the energy was there, the tactical performance, but also the quality.”
“It’s massive. We started on the front foot, we had a game plan and we stuck to it. We were all brilliant today and we deserved the three points,” McNeil told BT Sport. “We couldn’t have got off to a better start. It’s a credit to the lads, we’ve been in a difficult position this year. Now we’ve just got to build on this game. It’s massive confidence now, this is about us kicking on as a team. We have a massive game on Sunday [at home to Manchester City] and then two massive games after that.”
“Still three cup finals and we have to keep going. You have to take a lot of positives from that,” Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford said. “The gaffer [Sean Dyche] made a couple of changes. We set the standard early. We have to keep going as a group, the togetherness is there but we mustn’t take the foot off the gas.”