Abdoulaye Doucoure has explained how his “demanding” mentality will ensure he strives to lift his performance levels to new heights, as he aims to build an impressive start to his Everton career.
Midfielder Doucoure added he is relishing linking up with Everton’s in-form attacking talents, describing James Rodriguez as “one of the best I’ve ever played with”.
The Frenchman, who joined Everton from Watford earlier this month, has started every Premier League game so far in 2020/21 as the Blues have kicked off the campaign with three successive victories.
Doucoure has been a dynamic presence in the middle of the park during each of those matches.
The 27-year-old’s boundless energy and ability to carry the ball forward has helped set the tone for Everton’s progressive attacking play, while his intelligent positioning and ability to recover possession has thwarted several opposition attacks.
He has made six interceptions so far this term, a total only bettered by Yerry Mina (seven) in the Everton squad, and has won seven tackles - only fellow all-action midfielder Allan (12) and Richarlison (11) have made more successful challenges.
Doucoure insists, however, Evertonians are yet to see him perform at the peak of his powers.
“The team is playing very well – we have very good players, so I am really happy to settle in this team,” he told evertontv.
“I need more games but so far I think I have done well, I am happy to play every Premier League game.
“I think I can improve more, because I know I am not at my best yet.
“I can improve on the ball. Against Crystal Palace, I gave the ball away a couple of times, so I am not happy about that.
“I am a very demanding person and I need to improve.
“But we are all happy with the start to the season. Three wins in a row is very good for us and we need to keep going like this.”
Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were on target for Everton as Carlo Ancelotti’s side sustained their 100-per-cent start to the season with a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The pair have hit a combined total of eight goals already this season.
Fellow attacker James, meanwhile, delivered another sparkling display as the Toffees triumphed at Selhurst Park.
The former Real Madrid player was instrumental in both Everton goals.
First, his perfectly weighted reverse pass set Seamus Coleman clear and the Irishman crossed for Calvert-Lewin to head home.
James’ raking crossfield ball then found Lucas Digne in the penalty box, with the left-back’s header striking the arm of Joel Ward. The Blues were awarded a spot-kick, which was emphatically converted by Richarlison.
James has made 10 key passes in the Premier League so far this season – more than any other player in the division – and midfielder Doucoure outlined the range of attributes in the Colombian’s armoury.
“James is one of the best players I’ve played with,” Doucoure added.
“He has got everything – the vision, the quality of the pass and the intelligence of the game.
“He has great experience, as well, as he has won a lot of trophies. For us, it is great to have a player like that.
“We have a good front three. It’s great for Dominic, it’s great for Richi to be scoring, too.
“When you have clinical strikers, they don’t give anything to the opponents.
“It is very good for the team.”
Everton responded to an equalising goal from Crystal Palace’s Cheikhou Kouyaté on Saturday by hitting the front again just 14 minutes later.
The Blues then stood firm as the home side committed men forward in search of another leveller in the second half.
Everton’s resilience was also on show in the previous weekend’s home success over West Bromwich Albion, when Ancelotti’s side came from behind to run out 5-2 winners.
“In this team, even when you concede a goal, you feel comfortable,” Doucoure explained.
“You feel you can still win games. It happened last week and this week as well.
“Against Palace, we didn’t panic [after we conceded].
“We controlled the game more. It was a tough game because Palace are a good team.
“But we played with courage and deserved the victory.”
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