Sam Allardyce is backing striker Cenk Tosun to improve Everton’s attacking prowess after the Turkey international's encouraging debut against Tottenham Hotspur.
Toffees manager Allardyce did not try to conceal his frustration at the nature of his side’s loss to the London club on Saturday – but he saw enough in his new forward’s positive display to draw a sliver of comfort from a difficult evening at Wembley.
Two goals from Harry Kane and one apiece for the outstanding Son Heung-min and Dane Christian Eriksen condemned the Blues to a 4-0 defeat by Mauricio Pochettino's team.
Tosun has hit 38 club goals since the start of 2016/17 but was starved of scoring opportunities in his 62 minutes on the pitch, as he became the first Everton player to make his league bow for the Club at the national stadium.
Nevertheless, the 26-year-old former Besiktas man – who has also struck five times for his country in the past nine months – immediately adapted to the rough and tumble of Premier League football.
His link-up play was excellent and there were signs of a potentially profitable understanding developing between Tosun and Wayne Rooney.
Everton would have seized the lead had Rooney not been stood fractionally offside when he headed home Tosun’s clever flick on 22 minutes – four minutes before Son prodded Tottenham in front.
“If we can get him holding up the ball, and we get better service to him and the ball in the box, then hopefully he will do what he has done for Besitkas in their league and in the Champions League,” Allardyce told evertontv.
“That is what we need at the moment – it is the area where we need to improve more than any other.
“It would have been a hugely difficult day for him, because he would not have expected that performance from the team. We have been doing reasonably well and we have got to cut out the mistakes immediately.”
Allardyce enjoyed a fine start at Everton after being appointed boss in November. The 63-year-old did not taste defeat until his eighth match in charge but is now contending with the challenge of putting the brakes on a run of three successive Premier League losses. The Toffees also exited the FA Cup last week, albeit following a performance against Liverpool which Allardyce rated the best he had seen in his near-seven weeks at the helm.
The former Bolton Wanderers and Crystal Palace manager is promising to leave no stone unturned in a bid to rediscover a winning formula in time for the visit of West Bromwich Albion to Goodison Park next Saturday.
But Allardyce insists his players must be prepared to reflect honestly on their second-half display at Tottenham in order to prompt an immediate upturn in form.
And he also pointed to the high-quality service Kane receives from his Spurs’ team-mates to explain how 25-cap Tosun would benefit from a similarly productive supply line.
“I would expect our players to take responsibility for themselves and say, ‘I did not perform to my best’,” said Allardyce.
“Apart from giving away a soft penalty and a sloppy corner against Liverpool, it was my best performance since I have been here. Now I have seen my worst – all in the space of a week.
“The unbeaten run is long gone now and we must bring this one to a halt, starting with West Brom next weekend.
“Kane is very good – and the rest of the team make him very good as well. The lads around him provide him with quality service to give him the opportunities to score goals.
“I am sure he appreciates the opportunities all those players give him to be such a great goalscorer – and his finishing techniques in all areas are superb.
“You have to accept responsibility and criticism [as a footballer] and I will accept it too for turning out a team that performed like that in the second half.”