Abdoulaye Doucoure is convinced the “clear identity” Frank Lampard is implementing at Everton will soon translate into results, as he revealed the jolt of confidence the Blues manager’s words gave him during their first meeting.
Doucoure made his first appearance after more than a month out with injury in Saturday’s narrow defeat to Manchester City and promptly delivered an all-action midfield performance.
The Frenchman’s powerful running and positivity in possession helped drive Everton forward as they stood toe-to-toe with the reigning Premier League champions, while his relentless work off the ball embodied a whole-hearted collective Everton display.
The Toffees lined up in a 4-3-3 formation and Lampard explained how Doucoure played a vital role in linking the team’s midfield and attack, highlighting his “energy, quality and desire”.
Doucoure says he is savouring the chance to work with Lampard and believes the manager’s front-foot philosophy will help Everton climb the Premier League table.
“When I met the manager for the first time, we had a great chat,” he told evertontv. “He said he counted on me and he liked my style of play
“I was very happy and very confident to come into the game [against Manchester City] and I tried to repay the trust he gave me.
“In the [4-3-3] system, I can go a little bit forward. I was a little bit higher than Donny and Allan, but I can do the deeper defensive work as well.
“I think the shape worked quite well and it did in training, too.
“The identity of the team is clear. The idea is very good. We try to play football and I think everyone enjoys this. I think soon the results are going to come and we will be better.”
This video is for Season Ticket Holders, Official Members and Hospitality Members
This content or section of the site is available for free to Digital Members
To view this content you need to be a Season Ticket Holder, Hospitality Member or Official Member.
LAMPARD ON DOUCOURE RETURN AND 'SPECIAL' TRIBUTE
Doucoure’s First-Team comeback came ahead of schedule, with the midfielder making a swift recovery from the groin injury sustained in Everton’s home clash with Aston Villa on 22 January.
It is the second time he has defied expectations following injury this season. Doucoure was fit to return to action just 42 days after suffering a stress response in his foot in a game against West Ham United last October.
“I always heal more quickly than expected,” he said.
“This injury was a big setback for me, especially in a moment when I would love to help the team. I know my importance to the team.
“I did my best to come back as soon as I can, and I am happy to be back and to be fit.”
Doucoure admits Saturday’s defeat to Manchester City was “tough to take”, particularly with Everton seeing strong claims for a late penalty turned down following a Rodri handball
He insists, nonetheless, the Blues must strive to replicate the drive, purpose and ambition displayed throughout the contest in their upcoming games.
Next up for Everton is a last-16 FA Cup clash with Boreham Wood at Goodison Park on Thursday night (8.15 GMT), before the Toffees travel to Tottenham Hotspur for a Premier League encounter on Monday 6 March.
Doucoure added: “It [the City result] was a big frustration and I think we had a clear penalty.
“We worked hard for all the 90 minutes. It was a good game, we worked for each other, and I think we deserved more.
“We have to dig in and stay together and, if we play like we did on Saturday, then we are going to be okay for the next games.
“We have to take the positives and keep up this standard.”