Gomes: Why Watford Test Will Help Us Grow

Andre Gomes says Everton will gain strength from withstanding a stern physical examination to beat Watford on Saturday – seven days after claiming a point at Crystal Palace with 10 men.

Midfielder Gomes won a week-long battle to be fit for the weekend’s fixture after being forced off early against Palace with an ankle problem.

Everton overran Watford in the opening half hour, with former Valencia player Gomes’s clever passing illuminating his side’s progressive play.

The Portuguese then did his bit to help Everton batten down the hatches when Javi Gracia’s side threw caution to the wind in search of a goal to equalise Bernard's 10th-minute strike.

Marco Silva felt Everton’s slender victory represented tangible evidence of progress for a side which might have ended up drawing in similar circumstances 12 months ago.

And Gomes echoed his manager’s view.

“These first two results give us strength for the next matches,” Gomes told evertontv.

“In the Crystal Palace game with 10 men it was difficult but we were strong to get the point.

“Watford was a difficult battle, a really hard battle.

“They finished the game with five or six strikers but we did well to hold out.

“Sometimes the game was not brilliant but we won and we are happy with that.

“In pre-season we said we wanted to continue our hard work and the way we are playing at the end of last season.

“At times on Saturday it was a fight and the game was not always good to watch.

“But it was a really good fight and another game with no goals conceded.

“That is really good for us and will give us confidence, so we can look to the next game and try to get three points.”

Gomes initially joined Everton on loan from Barcelona in summer 2018 but had to wait nearly three months to play because of a hamstring issue.

He made up for lost time following his debut in late October and after wowing Evertonians with a string of classy performances was signed on a permanent basis from the Catalans this summer.

The 26-year-old was determined, then, to limit the disruption caused to the opening weeks of his season this time round by the injury he picked up in a midfield collision at Palace.

Gomes conceded he was touch and go to partner Jean-Philippe Gbamin in a new look Everton midfield partnership against Watford until a noticeable improvement in his condition in the 48 hours ahead of kick-off.

He confirmed his fitness with a very good all-round contribution. Gomes’s passing accuracy of 83.3 per cent was second among Everton's players to only Gylfi Sigurdsson's comparative figure of 84.6 per cent.

Gomes was especially busy in his his opponents’ half of the field, where he attempted more passes than any of his teammates [16] and achieved the highest level of passing precision [84.2 per cent].

Additionally, Gomes recovered possession 11 times, more than all but three Premier League midfielders across the weekend’s nine games.

“I was feeling good the last two days before the game,” added Gomes.

“I felt comfortable and wanted to play and I felt okay during the match.

“It was a difficult game for everybody and it was important to come through with the result.

“Other players have the confidence of the manager and if I wasn’t fit someone else would have come in and been great for the team.

“We are all working hard and every player is involved in what we are trying to do.

“We have a deep squad and a strong team.”

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