Jordan Pickford says Everton know they have "got every chance” of succeeding when midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye is in top form.
The Senegal midfielder, who signed a new five-year deal with the Blues earlier this month, was at his imperious best despite the 1-0 defeat at Watford last Saturday, patrolling the space in front of the back four while also initiating a number of Everton’s attacks.
He led the way with a match-high nine tackles, more than any other player on the pitch, and also chipped in with three interceptions – the joint highest of those in royal blue, alongside defender Cuco Martina.
Offensively, Gana completed 76.5 per cent of his 51 passes, a figure bettered only by Tom Davies’ 77.8 per cent, who made 24 fewer passes than his teammate.
Gana’s 3.8 tackles per game place him eighth in the list of players across Europe’s top five leagues (who have played 15 games or more). Athletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez and Real Madrid’s Casemiro are only marginally ahead with 3.9 tackles per game, although the Everton man has played more games than the Spain-based pair.
Pickford was delighted to see the 28-year-old former Aston Villa man extend his stay with the Toffees, and hopes he can replicate the form he showed at Vicarage Road for the remainder of the campaign.
“When Gana plays like that, you know you have got every chance as a team,” the England international keeper told evertonfc.com. “You know he is going to be working hard for you and getting on the ball, as he did against Watford.
Gana's heat map shows just how busy he was at Vicarage Road supporting the play in both attack and defence.
“He started quite a few of the attacks off, playing through the thirds, and he was there regenerating the ball, winning it back as well.
“When he plays like that, you’ve got every chance and if we can keep him playing that for the rest of the season then we can win a lot more games.”
Further to his statistics at Watford, Gana is behind only Leicester’s Wilfried Ndidi with 94 tackles in Premier League competition to date, and 14th on the list of interceptions with 47 - a figure that betters Manchester City’s Fernandinho, Spurs’ Eric Dier and Ndidi.
Gana made 51 passes against Watford - the most of any Everton player - including one key pass (yellow), completing 76.5% of them.