Everton have managed to come out of the relegation zone for the first time since 3rd January, when they lost 4-1 to Brighton. Sean Dyche’s men snatched a narrow 1-0 victory over Leeds United and the manager applauded Abdoulaye Doucoure and Idrissa Gueye for their outstanding midfield performance.
Dyche’s era at Everton couldn’t have started in a better way as the Toffees now have six points out of possible nine in Dyche’s first three games. Two resounding home victories against Arsenal and Leeds have helped the Merseysiders gain some momentum and finally jump out of the relegation battle.
Everton now sit 16th with 21 points, one point clear of the drop zone, tied with AFC Bournemouth on 21 points but ahead on goal difference. This was a must win tie as it was a relegation six pointer, a win against Leeds would have created some distance between Everton and Leeds, who are direct relegation rivals of the Toffees.
Everton boss Sean Dyche applauds Abdoulaye Doucoure and Idrissa Gueye
It was Seamus Coleman’s incredible strike that won the game for the Toffees. Everton showed leaps and bounds of progress as the side is gelling well into Dyche’s system and bringing out the best individually in the players. After the game, the 51 year old praised the individual displays of midfielders Gueye and Docuoure.
"I thought Doucoure and Gana were absolutely outstanding, both of them. (via Liverpool ECHO)"
Gueye had 66 touches in 90 minutes and won three tackles. The Senegalese made seven recoveries and two important interceptions while winning 11 duels. On the other hand, Doucoure maintained a pass accuracy of 88% while having 57 touches throughout the game. Defensively, the 30 year old made nine recoveries and two interceptions. Amadou Onana was supported by Gueye and Doucoure in the midfield as the Toffees won the midfield battle.
Everton’s win over Leeds United moves them out of the relegation zone but they cannot let their momentum drop as other lower table sides like Southampton and Bournemouth also managed to win their respective games. The Saints registered a shock win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, meanwhile, the Cherries won at Wolves.
Dyche highlighted progress is being made as the players are adapting and the win is a consequence of the hard work that they are putting in.
"You see the other results, the topsy-turvy nature of the Premier League. It [the win] does not guarantee anything but for me it just reinforces the work we are trying to do with the players. I only try to guide them with what I think is important for them and what I think is good for them.I think they are showing, they are adapting, to what it is. They still have the freedom to go and play and I thought that was better today. Don’t get me wrong – you play Arsenal and that is not easy because they are flying, Liverpool for different reasons, a tight game away from home and with the meaning and the purpose of it all that I am learning about."
Have Abdoulaye Doucoure and Idrissa Gueye become an indispensable part of the Everton side?