Niasse Vows To Keep Improving To Boost Blues

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Oumar Niasse says he is “getting better and better” and is vowing to “keep running” in Everton’s cause this season.

Niasse responded to being handed a lone striker’s role at Crystal Palace by winning a sixth-minute penalty, which was converted by Leighton Baines, and then striding clear to slot home his team’s second goal on the stroke of half-time.

Both those efforts cancelled out previous strikes from the hosts – James McArthur turned into an empty net in the opening minute, and Wilfried Zaha scored 10 minutes before the break – and Senegal international Niasse was satisfied with the point Everton eventually claimed from their visit to Selhurst Park.

“The past few months have been difficult but it is always good to get a point, especially away from home, and now we need to work for next week (away at Southampton),” said Niasse.

“Crystal Palace started the season badly, but they have some great players. It is difficult to play them away – their stadium is tough – you need to focus and fight every time.

"The confidence is coming into the team, because in the last game (against Watford) we were 2-0 down and won 3-2. Then Palace were ahead twice and we came back.

“We did not give up and the team is getting better and better.”

Niasse’s goal in south London was his fifth in the Premier League this term – and sixth in all competitions.

His return is all the more impressive given the match against Roy Hodgson’s Palace represented only the third time the 27-year-old had started in the top-flight this season.

Indeed, the former Lokomotiv Moscow man's five strikes have come in just 379 minutes of league football.

Niasse’s goal and the driving run which drew a foul from Eagles defender Scott Dann to earn the Toffees’ penalty, were the standout features of a characteristically industrious display.

The forward’s ceaseless running drew countless errors from opponents and he contributed defensively when called upon, too.

“It is difficult for me, because for two seasons in a row I did not have a proper pre-season,” said Niasse.

“I have to work harder and keep running to get my fitness back. I am getting better and better and we will see at the end of the season what happens.

“But I am happy to get a goal and help my team.”

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