Dominic Calvert-Lewin called on Everton to keep the belief they can “compete with and beat” the best sides after their gutsy 3-3 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The Blues showed fighting spirit which has shaped much of their season to date to battle back from 2-0 down at half-time and level with goals from Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez.
And despite falling behind again on 70 minutes following Scott McTominay’s header, a dramatic point was secured with virtually the last kick of the game when Calvert-Lewin slotted in from close range five minutes into added time.
Calvert-Lewin spoke of the team’s frustration with their first-half display that allowed United to canter ahead with goals from Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes.
But the England international – whose leveller takes his tally to 13 in the Premier League this season – wants Everton to draw on their high-tempo performance after the interval as a blueprint to show they can get the better of top-quality opposition.
“We had a little change of system a few minutes into the second half and I think that allowed us to get back into the game,” said Calvert-Lewin. “It allowed us to get more bodies forward. We had let them have too much of the ball and didn’t lay a glove and it was just about showing more spirit and picking our tempo up as I think that’s when we’re at our best – when we play high tempo and we get after people.
“It’s frustrating that we went two goals down. For me, we’re capable of achieving so much more and I feel every team we come up against, we can compete and we can beat them.
“When we don’t lay a glove and let teams get away from us, it’s frustrating but we showed our confidence to get back in the game. That’s what we’re about and what we need to show more of."
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The point extended Everton’s unbeaten league run to seven matches and moved the Blues up to sixth in the table, with games in hand on the four sides directly ahead.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side next host Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday, before returning to Premier League action next Sunday when Fulham come to Goodison.
“It was frustrating after we got back level at 2-2 to let them get the lead again from a set piece but we just hung in there,” added Calvert-Lewin on the United draw. “We had to stay disciplined when they had the ball for large parts and then try to get the goal at the end.
“I was just waiting for a little nick [for the free-kick that led to his equaliser]. I knew I wasn’t going to get the first contact so it was just about being ready for the second one. Once it hit me in the stomach I knew I could get there before the keeper.”