Stoppers star in stalemate

Stoppers star in stalemate

LONDON • Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti praised his side for their fighting spirit in their 1-1 Premier League draw at Burnley yesterday, after Dominic Calvert-Lewin cancelled out Robbie Brady’s early opener.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, the Italian admitted a point apiece was probably a fair result for the two sides who both had chances to win at Turf Moor.

“We have to accept the performance and the result. We suffered mentally but we were in the game and until the end we played a good game,” the 61-year-old said.

“I think we played quite good, of course we want to win but I think the point is acceptable.”

Burnley grabbed the lead in the third minute when Everton midfielder Allan gave the ball away and Ashley Westwood fed Brady who drilled the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Everton had the alertness of Jordan Pickford to thank in the 41st minute when Dwight McNeil slipped Chris Wood through but the goalkeeper was out quickly to foil the Burnley striker.

Calvert-Lewin then brought Everton level on the stroke of half-time, sliding in to meet a cross from the left by Richarlison for his 11th league goal of the season.

According to Sky Sports, the 23-year-old England striker has scored more league goals from inside the box (11) than any other player in Europe’s top five divisions this campaign.

“It was a difficult game for him but at the right time he was ready. The performance was difficult for him but he was good and Richarlison did a good performance,” added Ancelotti.

Pickford denied Wood again in the 84th, diving to palm away a firm header from a corner, and then Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope kept Gylfi Sigurdsson’s effort out with an excellent save with his feet.

McNeil failed to make the most of a late chance for Burnley, who remain in the bottom three with six points from 10 games.

“We started the game brightly with good energy. Everton have a top manager and have put a lot of investment into the team,” said Burnley manager Sean Dyche, who was in charge of his 200th Premier League game yesterday.

“I thought both (goalkeepers) made key saves today. There was a good feel about us today, we are giving a lot to the cause and going right to the end.

“It’s tougher and tougher for English managers in the Premier League so I am happy with 200 games. I’ll have a small glass of wine later.”

Everton were the surprise early season pacesetters in the English top flight but have lost their way in recent weeks, with four defeats in their last six league games before yesterday.

They have also now conceded in 10 consecutive league games – their longest run without a clean sheet in the competition since November 2017 (12 games).

“We’ve not had a clean sheet since the first game of the season and we were gutted to concede so early. We had chances to win it but it wasn’t our day,” defender Michael Keane said.

The Toffees have 17 points from 11 matches, four points off leaders Tottenham, who host north London rivals Arsenal today.