Andre Gomes believes Everton’s impressive 1-0 victory at Sheffield United represents an important step as the Blues aim to build confidence, as he revealed his efforts to improve every day after “a difficult season” which saw him suffer a serious ankle injury.
After an attritional first half at Bramall Lane - which saw Everton go closest when Dominic Calvert-Lewin struck the post - Richarlison broke the deadlock just after the interval.
The Brazilian superbly planted a header past Blades keeper Dean Henderson from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross for his 15th goal of the season.
Everton could have scored further goals during an impressive second-half display, with Calvert-Lewin forcing a fine save from Henderson and Gomes sending a 20-yard effort just past the post.
Gomes outlined the Blues' resolve to ensure they conclude the campaign with back-to-back victories by taking maximum points from Sunday’s clash with Bournemouth at Goodison Park.
“For us, it was a really important result in terms of getting back on track,” said Gomes, whose eye-catching array of passing drove the Blues forward throughout the contest.
“We want to finish the season well.
“We are not in the position we want to be but I think it’s an important three points to build our confidence.
“It was a really good goal by Richarlison. I am really happy for him.
“And it was important for us not to concede and get a clean sheet.”
Gomes was influential throughout at Bramall Lane. The Portugal international was at the heart of several slick Everton passing moves, as Carlo Ancelotti’s team regularly advanced into dangerous positions.
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ANCELOTTI KEEN TO BUILD ON EVERTON POSITIVES
The 26-year-old missed more than three months of the season after suffering a fractured ankle in the Blues’ 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in November.
He returned to first-team action in February and played Everton’s final three matches before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This season was difficult for me,” says Gomes.
“But I work day-by-day.
“I’m trying to get better and feel better, too.
“It’s really important for me to finish the season well.”
Everton delivered a fine defensive performance against Sheffield United, with the home team unable to muster a single shot on target.
Central defenders Michael Keane and Jarrad Branthwaite – making his maiden Everton start – were strong and authoritative, standing tall to clear a host of United deliveries into the box.
Eighteen-year-old Branthwaite joined Everton from League Two side Carlisle United during the January transfer window and Gomes has been impressed with his attitude and ability.
“He did really well,” Gomes said. "Even in the previous games [substitute appearances against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa], he did well, too.
“I’m really happy for him.
“He is a young kid and a really good kid, too.”