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03:27 Tue 09 Apr 2019

Jagielka: Cohesion And Confidence Key To Everton Run

Phil Jagielka says the growing cohesion and confidence within the Everton team has been key to the Blues' impressive Premier League form.

The Everton club captain believes the players are successfully implementing manager Marco Silva's style of play, adding "everyone knows their roles".

Jagielka hit the winning goal as the Toffees beat Arsenal 1-0 on Sunday to wrap up a third straight top-flight victory.

Everton have now collected 13 points from their past six matches, recording five clean sheets in the process. It is a series of results which has seen them move to within one point of Leicester City in seventh place. 

Next up for the Blues is a trip to Craven Cottage on Saturday to take on an already-relegated Fulham outfit.

The Blues have now collected 13 points from their past six matches – recording five clean sheets in the process. It is a series of results which has seen them move to within one point of Leicester City in seventh place. Next for the Blues is a trip to Craven Cottage on Saturday to take on an already-relegated Fulham outfit.
Everton captain Jagielka, who is in the midst of his 11th season at the Club, claims the belief generated by the team’s recent performances can help to inspire a positive finish to the campaign.

“We’ve now got that confidence that we can keep clean sheets and we’ve always felt we can score,” he told evertontv.

“I think we’ve had continuity, with everyone knowing their roles. It was always going to take a little bit of time, with the new players settling in, and it’s nice to see [the team performing well].

“It was a fantastic team performance against Arsenal and that’s what it’s about.

“We stuck in and grafted, front to back, and maybe could have had a couple more goals.”

Jagielka was drafted into the starting line-up just minutes before kick-off when Michael Keane was forced to pull out with illness.

The game represented Jagielka’s 319th Premier League appearance for Everton, a total surpassed by only Leighton Baines, Leon Osman and Tim Howard.

The defender required no time to get up to speed with the action against Arsenal, and 10 minutes in he had his 19th Everton goal, finishing from close range after Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s knockdown.

The 36-year-old also delivered a typically resolute defensive display, helping restrict a gifted Gunners team to just two shots on target.

That led to him being named in pundit Alan Shearer's Premier League team of the week alongside fellow defenders Kurt Zouma and Lucas Digne, with Silva also named best manager.

Jagielka's previous starting appearance for the Blues came in the 3-0 victory at Cardiff City on 26 February. The former Sheffield United player was eager to identify the role of his teammates in helping him make a seamless return to the side.

“To play 90 minutes, score and keep a clean sheet, I couldn’t have asked for better day,” Jagielka said.

“It would have been nice to get the second goal but, then again, maybe I wouldn’t have been the match-winner!

“Before the game, we had an idea that Michael wasn’t too well. We knew he was going to try to give it a chance but he wasn’t able to finish the warm-up.

“You have to be ready. You train hard every week and you pay attention. It’s a squad game these days, the Premier League is a tough division and you need people to come in when they get a chance and do a job.

“The people around me helped, too. Kurt is a fantastic person to play alongside.

“It was the first time I’ve played with him but on the other side of the spectrum I’ve got Seamus, who I’ve played with a lot. He was chewing in my ear every minute!

“It’s perfect, it’s exactly what you want. Jordan [Pickford] was commanding again, his kicking was fantastic. Everyone in and around you can help you out and I feel I can help them out with my experience.

“But it’s a team effort and we got the result together.”

Jagielka also reserved praise for striker Calvert-Lewin, who led the line with skill and maturity against Arsenal.

The 22-year-old’s pace, power and directness was instrumental as Everton put the Gunners backline under consistent pressure.

The England Under-21 international clocked the fastest speed of any player across the Premier League weekend – 21.4 mph – while no player in any top-flight match won more duels than his 12.

BBC pundit and Arsenal legend Ian Wright told he believes the forward has the attributes to break into the senior England international squad.

Jagielka agrees Calvert-Lewin has a bright future, highlighting his work rate and hunger to improve as important qualities.

“Dominic was fantastic leading the line [against Arsenal] and it allows everyone to support from behind,” the Everton skipper added.

“You forget how young he is, but he’s doing excellent job and also we’re learning how to play the ball up to him and things like that.

“He’s been here a little while but, as far as playing regularly for the first team, it’s probably the best stint he’s had. Although he didn’t get a goal, he was very difficult to manage, and that was shown by how they [the Arsenal defence] struggled with him.

“In training, he’s always asking questions - ‘Should I have made this run or ran in here?’. He’s always trying to learn.

“He is developing his learning and taking that onto the pitch. He knows he not the complete package yet but he is getting closer and closer in every game. 

“And when your teammates have got confidence in you, you can see him peacock out a bit more, and taking a few more touches. It’s great to see.”

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