John Ebbrell praised the ‘exciting’ debut of new Under-23s winger Anton Donkor after he helped Everton beat Manchester United.
The winger, on loan from Wolfsburg, started on the left hand side of midfield, before later switching flanks, and put in an all-action performance at Leigh Sports Village, seeing an effort saved by Joel Pereira and working tirelessly to help out in defence.
It was also his pass into the feet of Bassala Sambou that allowed the striker to roll his marker and fire the Toffees back in front after Demetri Mitchell had cancelled out Courtney Duffus’ opener.
Ebbrell was pleased with what he saw from Donkor and said the German will have benefitted from the experience. “I was delighted with his debut,” he told evertonfc.com. “He showed how strong and quick he is, and he will be better for having played. Anton knows a little bit about us now and how we play. He was a credit to himself.
“You win friends by your own performance and there was a real desire about his game. He got us up the pitch, ran at people and was exciting. I enjoyed watching him.
“It was a good pass from him for Bass for the second goal. There were periods in the first half where I thought he was unplayable. There’s little bits that we need to work on, you can see that, but some of his movement and aspects of his play are exciting.”
Donkor won an early penalty as he was adjudged to have been fouled in the area but Liam Walsh saw his low effort saved by Pereira. However, Duffus rounded off a flowing move to open the scoring right on half time.
Sambou climbed off the bench to regain the lead after Mitchell’s spot-kick early in the second half, and the former Coventry man added a second with a penalty, after he was sent tumbling in the box by United skipper Axel Tuanzembe.
The result, coupled with Manchester City’s 3-3 draw with Leicester, extended Everton’s lead at the summit of the Premier League 2 table to six points with seven games remaining.
However Ebbrell insists the young Blues will focus only on themselves during the run-in and maintaining their current run of form of six unbeaten games in the league.
“Everything that we asked of the lads, in terms of organisation, effort and application, it was all there,” he added. “We played ever so well in the first half. Not so well in the second but you have to credit Man United, they were better after the break.
“The way we got over them pegging it back to 1-1 and we went again, I was really proud of the lads.
“We will continue to focus on what we do as opposed to looking at the other clubs in the league. I really enjoyed watching us against United. We dominated at times in the first half and when it got a little bit sticky in the second, we were resilient. We had talked about taking set backs and finding a way to win. It was a good learning game for the players on top of the victory.”