MATCH CENTRE

Keane: A Defeat - Not A Reality Check

Michael Keane has called for calm and insists the Everton squad retains full confidence in their ability to challenge at the top end of the Premier League table.

The Blues were frustrated on Sunday afternoon, with Angelo Ogbonna's headed effort enough to see West Ham become the first visiting side to record victory at Goodison Park this season. 

While the Hammers controlled more of the possession (61 per cent) over 90 minutes, Everton created a similar number of opportunities but failed to show a clinical edge in front of goal.

Speaking after the game, defender Keane refuted claims the Toffees were dealt a "reality check" and instead insisted level heads are required after the setback.

"I don't think it's a reality check," said Keane. "People can say what they want - we know what we're about and we know we can give anybody a game on our day. We didn't need a reality check. We've lost and we won't get too down about it. 


"In the same way, we've won games so far this season and haven't got too high about it. 

"We need to keep calm heads, take one game at a time and see where it takes us.

"We know we've got quality in the squad and if we can get consistency maintain intensity in our performances, with a bit more quality than we showed, then we'll stay at the top end of the table."

The build-up to Ogbonna's 74th-minute winner also caused irritation inside Goodison, with supporters believing a goal-kick - if not a foul - should have been awarded, rather than a corner that would ultimately prove decisive.

It was a view shared by Keane - and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

"I think Jordan felt like he punched it on to Antonio's head," added Keane. "I've seen a quick replay and it's hard to tell from it, but at the time I thought it was a goal-kick.

"I think the commitment and work ethic was there but maybe not the same intensity we've shown and West Ham were winning a lot of second balls.

"It's definitely an opportunity missed because we could have gone into the top four and we see West Ham as one of our rivals in the league this year, so it was an important game. But, at the same time, it's still early in the season and we've got loads of games to play. 

"It's all about how we pick ourselves up and bounce back from here now."

Benitez revealed in his post match press conference that Richarlison is "closer" to a return from a knee injury, while fellow forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin's recovery is expected to "take longer".

When asked about the two absentees, Keane said: "I think any team in the league is going to miss their two main strikers. 

"It's disappointing for them and for us to have had them both out for quite a while. 

"Hopefully we can get them back as quickly as possible because they're massive players for us - you see the goals they bring and how much they bring all-round. 

"The lads that have come in have done really well in their places, but you're always going to miss players of that quality."

ALL THE STATS

Check out the latest Everton player stats