Gareth Barry insists Everton’s fans deserve just as much credit for the victory over Chelsea as the players who took to the pitch.
After the dust had settled on the Blues’ first Premier League win of the season, Barry was eager to emphasise the role the home crowd played in seeing his new team over the finishing line against Jose Mourinho’s title challengers.
No stranger to Goodison Park, the midfielder has been a regular visitor to Everton’s ground for the best part of 15 years, previously playing against the Toffees for parent club Manchester City and his first employers Aston Villa.
But this time spurred on by the Gwladys Street, debutant Barry revealed just how key the influence from the stands was on the outcome of the contest.
“I’ve said all week that I had been looking forward to being on the right side of fans,” Barry said. “They are the 12th man and to have them on our side made the difference in the end. It was brilliant and hopefully that can continue all season.
“There was a fantastic atmosphere out there. These night games at Goodison always have a great atmosphere and the boys put in a great shift and thoroughly deserved the three points.”
Barry’s outstanding first Everton appearance earned him widespread praise and the man of the match accolade.
His brave sliding tackle on Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o ultimately proved as crucial as Steven Naismith’s headed winning goal.
“The lads were saying they had a plan to make it a good debut for me,” Barry joked when asked about the first-half incident. “Tim [Howard] had his hands across his face but luckily it just nicked off my foot and went over [the bar].
“It was one of those you can’t give up because you never know what is going to happen. Luckily for us the ball was a tiny bit short and it just gave me enough chance to get back, so I was grateful for that.”