Jags: Blues Have Right Balance

Phil Jagielka believes Everton have found the right balance to make them a tough proposition for any of their Premier League rivals. 

Jagielka returned to the starting line-up for the first time since the end of December on Saturday and helped the Blues to a sixth clean sheet in nine league outings. 

In that time, Ronald Koeman’s men have scored 22 goals, racking up six wins and two draws, to keep the pressure on those clubs chasing a top-six finish. 

“If the strikers are scoring all the goals but we’re leaking them at the other end, it doesn’t help the team at all, so it’s important we’ve got a good platform to build on,” Jagielka told evertontv. “Joel’s obviously been in good form, the lads at the back have done really well, so it was nice to come in and contribute.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game and that the first goal was going to be important. We all knew that West Brom would come and sit behind the ball and, if they go a goal behind, that changes their game plan. So we kept the ball well in spells and did enough to deserve the win.” 

Everton’s clean sheet came despite the change in centre-back partnership and the half-time withdrawal of Leighton Baines that saw Ramiro Funes Mori step off the bench as an auxiliary left-back. 

And Jagielka feels the way the Toffees adapted against the Baggies was evidence of the confidence currently soaring through Koeman’s side. 

“I’m sure Funes would prefer to play centre-half but he was chucked out there on the left, he dug in, did a great job, won some great headers, some good tackles, so it was everyone mucking in,” he said. “We all want to keep a clean sheet when we go out there and, if one of us ends up at full-back or in a not so familiar position, you still go out there and do your best.”

After Kevin Mirallas gave Everton a deserved 39th-minute lead, Morgan Schneiderlin all but put the game to bed when he steered a shot past goalkeeper Ben Foster on the stroke of half-time.

Romelu Lukaku added a third eight minutes from the end, and Jagielka was pleased to witness another comprehensive Goodison victory. 

The 3-0 win took the Toffees’ home league run to five wins in five games, with 18 goals scored and just three conceded. 

“It was good to see Romelu on the scoresheet again and also Morgan,” the Club skipper added. “He had a good performance again today. It was a good finish and it was great timing. It gave us that extra lead to take into the second half and I thought we controlled it well from there.”

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