Sam Allardyce saluted complete finisher Cenk Tosun after the striker extended his scoring streak with both goals in Everton’s 2-1 win at Stoke.
The Turkey international followed up recent strikes against Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion by bagging a double at the bet365 Stadium to move the Blues level on points with eighth-placed Leicester City in the Premier League table.
After Charlie Adam was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Wayne Rooney in the first half, Tosun opened the scoring on 68 minutes when he followed up his saved header to fire home from close range.
And the January signing showed more predatory finishing with the winner six minutes from time following Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s equaliser for the hosts, meeting Theo Walcott’s right-wing cross to plant a header into the bottom right-hand corner.
Tosun reaped the benefits of a warm-weather training camp in Dubai last month and, having settled into life in the Premier League in recent weeks with tireless work rate and impressive hold-up play to add to his goals, Allardyce was full of praise for the forward’s abilities – including his “born knack” of being a top goalscorer.
“He’s adapted much quicker than lots of front men who came from abroad into the Premier League, particularly in January. Taking him out of the firing line and giving him the opportunity to get to know the players – particularly in Dubai – do the extra training he’s done, we’re seeing the full benefits of that now,” said the Everton manager.
“He did it last week against Brighton and he’s the major reason why we won today.”
Asked how Tosun has improved in recent weeks, Allardyce added: “He’s always had the finishing in his locker. His hold-up play has got better. He’s got the whole array of finishing in his locker – heading, left foot, right foot, tap-ins, follow-ups – he’s got this knack of being in the right place at the right time and he was certainly that with the quality of his second finish.
“It looks like he’s got that knack. He seems to be born with that instinct of where to be.”
The Blues had to battle through freezing weather conditions at the bet365 Stadium. Allardyce thought the elements made it difficult for his side to break down 10-man Stoke’s stubborn resistance.
But he felt the quality of Tosun proved the difference in enabling the 3,000-plus Evertonians to travel home happy with three points to keep the Blues – who are now three points behind seventh-placed Burnley - looking up the table.
“I’ve never experienced conditions like those, either as a player or manager,” added Allardyce.
“Mastering the conditions was important and both sets of players did their best to make it an entertaining game and because of the quality of our frontman today we won the game and secured another three points, gladly away from home.
“It was going to be difficult in those conditions to break down the 10 men of Stoke so we had to create the opportunities and take advantage. That became easier as the second half went on because we started to probe that little bit quicker.
“As the game wore on those spaces opened up and we capitalised on them. What you want is the top-quality marksman to turn the game in your favour and Cenk has done that.
“The only thing we’ve slipped up on is giving Stoke the free-kick which we lost the goal from. We made up for it with Cenk scoring the winner for us.”