By Gary Judge 26/4/19
Q – Simply put, was Sunday the performance of the season for you?
Over the 90 minutes I think you’d have to say yes. I was actually just as impressed by the Arsenal performance but I think the fact that United haven’t been beat by that margin for such a long time and the fact we didn’t put our chances away tips it. It was just as good to see how few chances we limited them to as it was to see the ruthlessness of our players in and outside the opposing box. A massive plus for me was the dominance of Keane defensively. Its easily the best display I’ve seen from him in an Everton shirt and I really hope he can push on from that.
Q – What was it about the performance for you that was the most pleasing? The word ‘entertaining’ was used on this week’s show. Is that a good way to sum it up?
As I’ve said above, the individual performance of Michael Keane and his growing confidence was very pleasing for me. The all round team performance itself has got to be the most pleasing for the manager and the fans though. I think the word clinical and assured are just as apt for me. We looked like a seasoned top 6 side and so many of our player contributed to the victory, which is always a good sign. I think the word “entertaining” highlights the confidence that is flowing through the team at the moment. When you’re struggling for goals and leaking them, which we were not so long ago, then there’s no time for “entertainment”! Maybe it’s the improved atmosphere and positivity from the crowd that is encouraging the players to entertain more. In any case, Sunday was above all else, a good sign of the maturation and development of the team.
Q – Dominic Calvert Lewin’s name was again brought up after the game in that he had a real impact on the performance, but again failed to score. Is he showing that there is more to being a number 9 than just goalscoring or for you does he still need to add more goals to his game?
I was asked about Calvert- Lewin 6 weeks ago and I said that if he got an extended run in the team then at least we would know if he had a future or not. I am certain he now has a future if he can continue in this vein. Top Premier League strikers haven’t always been “goal machines”. You look at Duncan for us, Heskey for them Across the Park, Shane Long….. Going back even further there was even the likes of Dwight Yorke. All of them had stellar careers but were only really averaging 1 goal in every 4 or 5 games with the odd season exception. The more I watch Calvert- Lewin, the more I am actually convinced that he will never be prolific. That said, I am also more convinced that he’ll still have a role to play, dependent on the goal contribution of the players around him. For instance, it looks likely that Sigurdsson and Richarlison are both going to get to 15 goals. If someone like Bernard started to achieve those figures then we wouldn’t necessarily need our “number 9” to get 15+. You just know that it’ll be a case of; when we win and play well, nobody is bothered, when we lose and he misses chances, the questions will get asked. That’s Football!
Q – Finally, Crystal Palace at the weekend. Everton have moved into a position in which 7th place is a realistic finish, and in turn a probable European qualifying place. Does this now become must win for Marco Silva, the players and the club?
It’s the biggest game of the season isn’t it? Formerly that was Millwall as a trophy seemed to be the aim. Now that European Football is a possibility, this game, then the next, then the final game each take on that level of importance. I think if we don’t win on Saturday then Europa League Football is out of the question. If we win and you consider that Wolves and Watford are playing each other, then Wolves have to go to Anfield; you’d have to say we were favourites to get 7th. You’d hope that Tottenham will have a champions league place in the bag come the last game and they may even be in a Champions League final. All of the factors mean that the players should be very much up for these games and we will soon see if this team can deal with a bit of pressure; which will be an interesting one!