Premier League English

Sean Dyche was right – he is a big change for Everton

Abdoulaye Doucoure was once again spot on target for the resurgent Blues on Thursday night as they purged through Newcastle United at Goodison Park, with Dwight McNeil and Beto scoring in between the midfielder’s strike.

With that victory Everton were lifted out of the relegation zone, convincingly backing up their 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest last weekend. The mood around Goodison was markedly different the last time the Magpies visited way back in April, taking a huge stride towards Champions League football by eviscerating the then struggling Blues. Despite Dyche’s side managing to avoid the drop on the final day of the season, the nagging feeling persisted around Goodison then that relegation to the Sky Bet Championship could be just around the corner.The dark brooding clouds have been blown away and Doucoure, who signed a new deal with the club last month, has opened up about the changes his manager has made that have helped transform their side.

“We knew from last season that we needed to change something,” he said.

“The manager understands us very well and has a lot of experience in the Premier League, so he has just given us confidence and belief.

“He was a big change for the club, and I would say that he is the perfect fit. The manager is very honest. He tells us the truth, no matter what, so he’s been good.

“He has done a lot for me. I was not even in the team. When I signed my new contract, he joked with me and said, ‘You are not even in the picture‘.

“It was a good joke from him. It made me smile because I was happy. He believes in me, but he believes in everyone. He gives every player a chance to play.”

Before the midfielder continued: “We knew beating Newcastle would take us out of the bottom three, so it was very important. It is so good for our mindset to be out of the relegation places.

“We knew Newcastle would be a tough game, but I think the performance was terrific and we deserved the win.

“The season was very good before the 10-point deduction, but obviously we were looking up before it took us into the bottom three.

“As players, we try to focus on performances and to get as many points as we can, and I think at the moment we are playing very good.”

Everton welcome Chelsea to Goodison this afternoon, and had it not been for a 10-point deduction after being found guilty of breaching the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules, then the Blues would be sitting above Mauricio Pochettino’s side in the table.

“We knew the Newcastle game was important because we know that in the past, when we’ve won an away game, we come back to Goodison and either lose or draw,” Doucoure added.

“So we think the win was a big step and now obviously Chelsea is going to be another tough game.

“But at home, we can beat anyone, so we are very confident and we hope to have another good result.

“We know that without the points deduction, we would be above Chelsea in 10th, so it means we are having a great season.

“The way we are playing gives us confidence, but now we need to keep going and working hard.

“Our crowd has been terrific; they always support us, and hopefully against Chelsea we can give them another win.”