Robin Olsen says support from Everton and the Club’s fans was the determining factor in overcoming a “tough month”.
The goalkeeper, on loan from AS Roma, returned from injury to play in Everton’s past two games, against Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion.
Olsen shutout Brighton in a scoreless draw at the Amex Stadium on Monday, albeit the Swede’s satisfaction over a clean sheet was clouded by disappointment that Everton couldn’t convert one point into three.
The 31-year-old missed six weeks with an abdominal problem – similar to the issue ruling out fellow keeper Jordan Pickford – which initially prevented any form of training.
Olsen was the victim of a house break-in, in March, too.
But playing football again, coupled with a strong Everton support network, is enabling the player to draw a line under a trying period.
“To be honest, it was a tough month for me,” Olsen told evertontv.
“I had an injury and another incident. It was hard.
“But it has been nice to get all the support from the Club, the players and the fans.
“Now I am playing, I am back, so it is good.
“It was two strange injuries [for Olsen and Pickford], almost the same injuries. as well.
“It was an injury where I just needed to recover.
“I couldn’t go to the gym or the pitch, only rest, and that was hard.
“I always want to help the team, everybody has the same feeling, so it was frustrating.
“I am used to training hard every day.
“Then to get an injury where you just need to rest, it is difficult.”
Olsen helped keep Brighton at bay this week, notably tipping an awkward, dipping header from defender Lewis Dunk to safety.
It was a certain display from the Scandinavian, who came back from his enforced absence to deliver an equally assured effort in last week’s draw with Palace.
Everton performed soundly at the back in both games. Brighton were filtered down blind alleys and struggled for clear openings – only three of 23 shots were on target.
Palace, meanwhile, spent long periods of their Goodison visit on the back foot but sprung forward to equalise late on.
Everton host Tottenham Hotspur on Friday when the emphasis will be on adding goals to miserly defence.
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ANCELOTTI ON WHAT WAS MISSING AS EVERTON MADE BRIGHTON POINT
“Personally, it is nice to keep the clean sheet [at Brighton],” said Olsen.
“I wanted to win but if you keep the clean sheet, you have a chance to win the game – and we had one [Alex Iwobi fired narrowly over in the 90th minute] at the end of the game.
“But I am happy for that [not conceding] – we needed it.
“We know what to do [in the remaining eight matches].
“We need to win some games to reach Europe next season.
“Tottenham is an important game for us.
“We just need to keep working. We defend well and only need to score some goals.
“It will come.”
Manager Carlo Ancelotti is optimistic over the potential availability for Spurs of a string of First Teamers who missed the trip to Brighton.
Midfielders Allan and Andre Gomes and 19-goal striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin are all in with a shout of returning, along with forward Joshua King, who has been nursing a back problem.
Pickford could also recover from his own abdominal injury in time for the match.
Everton were additionally without a handful of long-term injured at Brighton.
The list of absentees didn’t alter the overarching aim of securing victory, insisted Olsen, only the means of trying to reach that goal.
“We knew what to do and told each other before the game to show courage and work and fight for each other,” said Olsen.
“When I looked at the players, I saw them running. They really worked hard for each other.
“Of course, we wanted to win the game.
“But one point and a clean sheet is okay in those circumstances.
“We got one more injury, unfortunately, with Yerry [Mina, who was withdrawn on 58 minutes].
“But everyone coming on the pitch knows what to do.
“I am proud at how we worked for each other but disappointed we didn’t win the game.”