Michael Keane has revealed how Everton boss Frank Lampard has quickly elevated confidence levels in the squad – explaining how the players have been “given the freedom to show what we’re capable of”.
Everton’s renewed belief was on display as the Toffees swept aside Leeds United at a raucous Goodison Park on Saturday.
Keane marked his 150th Premier League Blues appearance with a goal, with skipper Seamus Coleman and in-form Academy graduate Anthony Gordon also on target as Lampard’s side dominated their opponents.
While Everton created numerous chances and fired in 21 shots, Leeds failed to muster a single shot on target, with Keane instrumental in a consummate defensive performance.
The centre-back outlined the key principles Lampard has implemented since taking over just under a fortnight ago.
“Since the new manager has come in, there have been a lot of positives,” Keane said.
“We were confident going into the game against Leeds. We’ve been working well on the training ground and we’re happy to see it come off on the pitch.
“The intensity of training has been high as well as the way we press. He’s given us the freedom to pass the ball more and show what we’re capable of. All those things added together make a big difference.
“From minute one [against Leeds], we got in their faces, and we got the crowd with us. I thought the fans were brilliant today and we responded to that. We helped each other out.
“We had a quick start and were two up within about the first 20 minutes or so. We defended well. It’s never easy to play against Leeds but we knew if we matched their work-rate we’d have chances to score, and thankfully we took them.”
Keane’s goal was his 10th in an Everton shirt – the defender emphatically heading home from an inviting Gordon corner delivery for the Toffees’ second of the afternoon.
“It was a great ball in,” Keane added.
“We worked on a few different set-play routines on Friday. It was a good ball in from Anthony and I found myself in space and thankfully rose up and nodded it in.”
It was an extra special day for Keane, with his twin brother Will also on the scoresheet for League One Wigan Athletic in a 2-1 home win over Charlton. Itwas the first time the pair have netted on the same day during their professional careers.
“I’m buzzing for Will,” Keane added.
“He’s doing so well for Wigan and is scoring a lot of goals. They’re going for promotion and, of course, we’ve got our targets here at Everton.
“Hopefully we can both have a good finish to the season. It’s been a good day and we’ll celebrate.”