Fighting Spirit Encourages Boss

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Ronald Koeman saluted his players for battling to the very end to ensure Everton recorded a hard-earned point against Manchester United.

Leighton Baines’ clinically-taken penalty, scored in the 89th minute, cancelled out Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s lofted finish just before the break.

Kevin Mirallas, Idrissa Gana Gueye and Enner Valencia all had second-half efforts saved by David De Gea but Everton continued to push forward into the closing stages and eventually got the goal that salvaged a point and maintained the Blues’ unbeaten league run at Goodison Park. 

“We can fight back - we showed that today,” Koeman said. “It was disappointing to go 1-0 down before half-time. We played out with good defensive organisation from the start and made it difficult for Manchester United to create.

“It was much better than last week. We played very compact which made it difficult for the opponents to create chances. You saw maybe a lack of confidence on the ball but we will get it back if we show that fighting spirit we had until the end. We showed commitment and quality.”

Koeman was particularly pleased with how Gerard Deulofeu, Mason Holgate and Enner Valencia contributed after stepping off the bench in the second half.

“We showed commitment and qualities,” added the Everton manager. “The three substitutes had a big impact in the game. It was deserved because we were the most dangerous team in the second half. De Gea made two fantastic saves. We kept the belief and got the penalty.”

One of the main talking points from the match was Marcos Rojo’s first-half foul on Idrissa Gueye which earned the Manchester United a yellow card and left the Everton midfielder, who collected the man of the match accolade, needing medical treatment.

“If the referee watches it back, maybe it would be a red card,” continued Koeman. “But it was a tough situation. It’s a fair result because both teams did not deserve to lose the game.”

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