Seamus Coleman says Everton’s increased aggression in the second half of Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City offers a template for how the Blues must perform in their Premier League run-in.
Richarlison’s dramatic stoppage-time leveller earned Everton a point in the Goodison Park clash and Coleman believes the Brazilian’s crucial goal speaks volumes of his persistence and desire to fight to the final whistle.
After Leicester opened the scoring early on through Harvey Barnes and enjoyed the better of the opening half, Everton summoned the resolve shown in their previous two Goodison encounters, which saw Frank Lampard’s team battle to 1-0 victories over Newcastle United and Manchester United.
The Blues carved out numerous opportunities and finally got their just reward when Richarlison converted in the game’s final knockings.
Coleman, who won a match-high four tackles in a game where his typically committed performance was described as “sensational” by boss Lampard, said: “Three or four weeks ago, I don’t think we would have come back and got a point out of that game.
“We showed good character. We’re fighting for our lives, and we had to have a reaction in the second half.
“After the United game we were on a high, but we were disappointed in ourselves in the first half. We wanted to take advantage of playing at Goodison and the crowd getting right behind us, but we didn’t press them well at times and we didn’t play well enough.
“We came out more aggressive and had plenty of chances to equalise.
“To score late on was really important, and I think that says a lot about the character at the moment, so we need to build on that. We got a deserved point in the end.
“We realise the situation we’re in. We’re not in a position we want to be. No one is going to hold their head high about that.
“But I think in the last two games, getting four points from six, has shown that we’re fighting.”
Richarlison’s goal was his 50th for Everton in what was his 137th start for the Club.
The forward had six attempts on goal during the game – more than any other player – and again chased and harried relentlessly for his team.
Coleman added: “In the last four or five weeks, Richy has been one of our better players.
“He’s running his socks off for the team.
“You always bank on him coming up late with a goal.
“He kept going, it would have been easy for him to put his head down after missing that late chance [a header from a corner which went wide], but he kept going and his goal got us a point.
“We didn’t get too high after beating Man United and we won’t get too low after not beating Leicester. We’ve got to keep cool heads in this situation. We take a point, and we move on.”
Everton’s equaliser was created after a determined run and cross from Dele was flicked into Richarlison’s path by fellow substitute Salomon Rondon.
Dele and Rondon added energy and physicality to the Blues’ display following their introductions midway through the second half, and Coleman paid tribute to the pair’s influence.
“That’s reward for how they’ve trained in the past few weeks,” he said.
“Dele ran really well, and Sol held the ball up well for us.
“Those boys have been really on it in training, and they came on and made an impact.”
The win moves Everton four points ahead of 18th-placed Burnley, who host Southampton at Turf Moor on Thursday night.
Asked whether he would be watching the game, Coleman replied: “I’d like to say, ‘No, I’ll be doing something else’, but when you’re in the thick of it, when you love football and the Club as much as I do and you’re desperate for us to stay in this league, it’ll be hard not to watch it.
“For us, we’ve got to go back into training fully focused to go again.
“We’ve got a couple of big games coming up. We’ve got to have complete focus on doing the right things on a daily basis.”