Rafael Benitez wants Everton to make Goodison Park a fortress after explaining the secrets behind their dramatic turnaround against Burnley.
Everton earned a 3-1 win over Burnley after a dominant 379-second spell turned things around following Ben Mee’s opener. Ex-Burnley defender Michael Keane equalised on the hour mark, before Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray scored in the 65th and 66th minutes respectively.
Townsend’s goal in particular was a stunner after he had set up Keane’s goal. The midfielder struck the ball from outside the box with power and accuracy to send it into the top corner.
The third goal was all about the assist from Abdoulaye Doucoure, who had also played the pass before Townsend’s strike. He split the defence with a pass to pick out Gray, who finished one on one to score for the third consecutive Premier League game.
As such, Everton went from being behind to accelerating away from their opponents in stunning fashion. Consequently, they remain unbeaten so far this season and are one of four teams tied on 10 points.
While the reception to Benitez’s appointment at Everton was mixed, he is certainly making a good effort of winning any of his doubters over with their early form.
He acknowledged that it was tough to get three points against Burnley, but he was pleased with how they kicked on after getting back into the game.
The Spaniard told BBC Sport: “It was a good game, very physical. It was not easy but overall we were OK.
“When we scored our goal, we had more confidence, played 4-3-3, created more chances and could have scored more goals.
“Really pleased with the connection between the team and the fans. We are looking to build a fortress here.
“Both Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend have quality and are good pros. They are keen to learn, even Andros at his age. The main thing in this team, everyone said we needed wingers.
“Today Richarlison did a great job also and the two wingers helped the striker do better.
“Dominic Calvert-Lewin [who missed the game] broke his toe, was playing with pain, now he has a problem with his quads and we have to see.”
One player who remains out of the picture for Everton is James Rodriguez, although he was unable to secure an exit before the summer transfer deadline.
He has not enjoyed a positive relationship with Benitez in the past, but could have a role to play if they can settle their differences.
Even so, Benitez has suggested Rodriguez is further down the pecking order, despite his ability.
He said: “It doesn’t change too much, we are talking about strikers and wingers. Nobody can argue about the quality of James but he is behind the others.”
Dyche dissects another Burnley defeat
For Burnley, on the other hand, it has been a tough start to the season. They are winless in the Premier League and required penalties to get past Newcastle in the EFL Cup second round.
Stuck on one point, they currently occupy a place in the relegation zone and a long season is ahead if they are to preserve their top-flight status.
Manager Sean Dyche knows the margins are fine if they are to kickstart their season.
He told BBC Sport: “We are quite a wise group and the know you have to make it happen. We had a mad six minutes which cost us.
“We did not respond to their leveller and it killed our performance. A lot of it was right.
“The challenge you have in football is that you are searching for the first win but if you come off it a little bit, give the ball away cheaply and they score. The yardages are important when you are on top, you keep up the pressure.
“Last year home and away form changed, we kept the stadium quiet but our group is wise enough to know fans change quickly. That is part of being in the Premier League.
“Last season we had injuries and were stretched. The performances are not far away but the margins are tight. We are performing well as a team but we cannot keep having a soft 10 minutes against Brighton and a soft six minutes here.”
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