Tom Davies believes Everton’s “tight-knit” squad that has developed under Carlo Ancelotti has been key to their progression – as the midfielder spoke of his confidence the Blues can challenge for the top four this season.
Academy graduate Davies made his 138th First-Team appearance at the age of 22 when he was named in the starting XI for the dramatic 3-3 draw at Manchester United on Saturday night.
In a first half where Davies admitted Everton “weren’t good enough”, United went into a 2-0 lead with goals from Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes.
But Ancelotti’s rejuvenated side upped the tempo after the interval and reduced the deficit on 49 minutes as Davies’ sublime through ball allowed Dominic Calvert-Lewin a shot on goal that was parried by David De Gea for Abdoulaye Doucoure to tap home.
James Rodriguez completed the comeback with a crisp finish three minutes later. And despite falling behind again to Scott McTominay’s header, the spirited Blues came away from Old Trafford with a valuable point when Calvert-Lewin slotted past De Gea five minutes into added time.
The result lifted Everton up to sixth in the Premier League table, with games in hand on all of the teams above them. And as well as extending an impressive unbeaten away run to seven matches, Davies feels the team’s never-say-die attitude speaks volumes for the togetherness throughout the squad that gives them reason to aim high.
“We’ve got a good group, close-knit,” said the boyhood Evertonian, who had a 90-per-cent pass completion at Old Trafford, won four duels and made four clearances. “We knew at half-time that we weren’t good enough so we came out to show ourselves in a much better light – to show a bit more confidence and bravery on the ball and we did that.
“It’s a credit to the lads as they’ve been fantastic all season, especially the lads who came in [the summer]. We’re getting a really good group together. You saw the fight that we put out there.
“Top four has got to be our goal because it’s an unusual season. We put in a good performance again today against a team challenging for the top. If we keep doing that and taking points off the so-called bigger sides, keep our form in the games we should be winning and get the points there, then the top four is definitely a target.”
After being replaced by Alex Iwobi on 75 minutes with Everton pushing for another equaliser, Davies watched on from the bench when the third goal arrived via close friend Calvert-Lewin with virtually the last kick of the game.
Despite the drama unfolding, Davies admitted his celebrations were delayed while he waited for the strike to be confirmed.
Calvert-Lewin was not to be denied, though, as Premier League goal number 13 was notched up for the England international, who Davies lauded for the hard work he continues to put into his game.
“My reaction was a bit delayed as I didn’t want to get too excited because of VAR,” said Davies. “We had one last year against United [the 1-1 draw at Goodison in March 2020] when we thought we’d won it and it got ruled out so I was a bit patient with my celebration!
“Then I watched the video back and it looked good so I was buzzing with the lads on the bench and made up to get the point in the end. I’m made up for Dom for getting the goal.
“With Dom, we’re good friends off the pitch. I’m always buzzing to see him do well. He’s got another goal and he’s on fire. Long may that continue and I’m sure it will with the work he puts in.”
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