Carlo Ancelotti says Everton banked a “good point” against Leicester City on Tuesday – but emphasised the imperative of following up with victory over Newcastle United on Saturday.
Everton held a one-goal advantage for 37 minutes at Goodison Park after James Rodriguez opened the scoring with a stunning right-foot strike on the half hour.
Leicester responded with a concerted push for an equaliser and got their leveller when Youri Tielemans squeezed a skidding 67th-minute shot inside the post.
The away side had the majority of the ball but were restricted to few clear opportunities and Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin had chances to win the game for Everton late on.
Everton remain seventh in the Premier League but only two points outside the top four and with games in hand on the majority of teams above them.
“We did quite well and now we have to recover well for the next game, it is a good point if we win on Saturday,” said Ancelotti.
“We competed, we defended more than we attacked.
“That’s the game we wanted to play, to not give Leicester the possibility to counter-attack.
“The second half we didn’t have the control we wanted, we defended too much for the first 20 minutes after half-time.
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DAVIES: WE'LL TAKE THE DRAW AND GO AGAIN
“When they equalised, the game was more in control.
“In the last part of the game we moved the ball better with the counter-attack and had chances for Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin… but I think the point was fair.”
James walloped Everton into the lead after his initial cross was inadvertently returned to the Colombian’s feet by centre-back Wesley Fofana.
Shifting the ball onto his unfavoured right foot, James unleashed a scorching effort which thudded off the inside of Kasper Schmeichel’s left post and into the net.
Leicester had begun the game brightly and after half-time regained their rhythm.
Jordan Pickford saved smartly from Harvey Barnes but the away side continued to hog possession, pushing Everton back.
Tielemans levelled after being teed up by Barnes – but the equaliser prompted Everton to hunt for a winner.
Ancelotti made an attacking change, introducing Alex Iwobi for Mason Holgate, and nearly got his rewards at the end
Richarlison headed over from a corner supplied by substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lucas Digne’s cross was nodded inches wide by Calvert-Lewin.
“The goal was unbelievable, I am not used to seeing James score with his right foot,” said Ancelotti.
“I think that was the problem for the Leicester defenders, they did not expect him to shoot.
“The problem for us was not defending deep… when we had the ball we didn’t have opportunities to play as we wanted, or to find players between the lines, to play more for James or our strikers.
“We did that more after they equalised, we had more control of the game with the ball.
“It is important to know how we play and the qualities we have.
“We were comfortable defensively, they had a lot of control of the ball but not clear opportunities.”