Ronald Koeman has heaped further praise on Oumar Niasse and claimed the striker’s first goal against Bournemouth on Saturday was “perfect”.
Niasse had been on the pitch for 22 minutes when he slammed home to equalise Joshua King’s effort for the visitors.
The former Lokomotiv Moscow player then completed the turnaround by forcing the ball into the Gwladys Street net with eight minutes to play – three days after he had marked his first Everton appearance in 16 months with a sumptuous, rising finish at the same end of Goodison Park to round off the Blues’ Carabao Cup victory over Sunderland.
Niasse’s goal against the Wearsiders and his weekend matchwinner both owed much to his predatory instincts. The Senegal international, though, was integral to the construction of the move which ended with his emphatic strike to draw Everton level with Bournemouth.
He won possession deep in his own half, before swapping passes with Leighton Baines and then feeding Dominic Calvert-Lewin. While Calvert-Lewin found Tom Davies, Niasse was speeding into the box, ready to collect Davies’s measured through ball and arrow a venomous shot beyond Cherries’ goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
“The first goal was perfect,” Koeman told evertontv. “First he was defending and getting the ball back, he played a one-two, then he was running, his movement was good… and his finish was great.
“It is an incredible story that he scored the two goals. All the credit is to him. He was waiting a long time for first-team opportunities.
“He showed it last Wednesday and then did it again, because he gave the team the boost we needed at 1-0 down.”
While Niasse deservedly received enormous acclaim for his two-goal contribution after replacing Wayne Rooney on 55 minutes, he would have arrived into a bleaker situation but for goalkeeper Jordan Pickford denying the visitors a second goal.
Jermain Defoe had appeared poised to double Bournemouth’s advantage when he received the ball 10 yards from goal, just 60 seconds after King’s opener.
Pickford, though, rushed from his line to narrow the angle for his former Sunderland teammate and used his right leg to prevent Defoe’s low effort from ending up in the net.
Koeman spied a parallel with what he had witnessed six days earlier, when Manchester United ‘keeper David de Gea denied both Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson one on one, as Everton chased an equaliser at Old Trafford. The Spaniard’s saves ultimately laid the platform for his team to go on and win 4-0.
“Bournemouth had a big chance to score the second one. You need luck in life and you need luck in football. It was a great save by Jordan, like De Gea’s saves last week – and that helped make it a totally different result.”
Toffees boss Koeman also provided an update on Rooney, who was left with a nasty cut around his left eye after contesting a high ball with Bournemouth captain Simon Francis and was withdrawn shortly after the restart.
“Wayne is okay now,” said Koeman. “It was a risk (for Rooney to continue playing) – that was what the doctor told me at half-time.
“He started the second half but I thought I would need to change him later on. I had to change the system and I brought on two players, which was why I took Wayne off."