Dyche Hails Defiant Support And Honest Blues

Sean Dyche hailed Evertonians' defiant support following the Blues' 3-0 defeat to Manchester City - and called on his players to replicate the same level of honesty and commitment in the final two games of the season.

Everton began impressively against title-chasing City, restricting the visitors to little in attack while carrying a threat with efficient possession themselves, before Pep Guardiola's side landed a damaging one-two combination with goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Erling Haaland coming in the space of two minutes before the half-time interval.

City captain Gundogan doubled his tally for the afternoon with a curling free-kick six minutes after the restart.

Everton toiled and struck the crossbar through James Tarkowski's thumping header in response but were ultimately left empty-handed as attention now turns to a trip to Molineux to face Wolves next weekend.

"A fine side came here today," Dyche told evertontv. "I thought we were well organised, and I thought the structure of the team was right. Actually, the physicality of the team was right. They were trying to pass, trying to break, and they couldn’t, but then finally did from playing longer passes and stretching the back four as quickly as they could. 

"It was a great finish. We could have defended it better maybe, but there was a touch in there and it was a very clever finish. 

"The second one was really disappointing for me. It’s a straight ball; knockdown football. They get on it quicker than we do, and it’s a good cross, and a good finish from a top striker. At the end of the day, that’s a really disappointing goal, and a killer goal. We were 2-0 down out of pretty much nothing. But, like I say, that’s what these teams do.

Discussing whether the thumping 5-1 away win over Brighton & Hove Albion was a blueprint for the visit of the Premier League champions, Dyche continued: "It was a different kind of game today. I know Brighton play a very specific way. Man City can mix their game up, and we know they can pass and play. 

"The goals come from going back to front a lot quicker. It’s knockdown football, but high quality, of course. 

"They’ve learned throughout the years – their manager, their players – they know how to affect games. 

"They couldn’t break us down, so they changed their style. That’s what clever players and clever outfits do, and that’s what we’ve got to continue to learn.

"Strangely, we probably had the best chance until their goal – from Mason Holgate. I thought we were in the game and could’ve caused that weird upset today, but it wasn’t to be."

A raucous chorus of 'We love you, Everton, we do' reverberated around Goodison Park after the final whistle - and, while praising that appreciation from supporters, Dyche says his players must go again with the same levels of application.

"Our mentality was clear," said Dyche. "The energy and commitment to the cause were clear. We changed shape in the second half, and we kept playing, and kept probing. 

"The crowd also played their part, without a shadow of a doubt. They were brilliant. They stayed behind us and we’ll need them over the next couple of games as well.

"I don't think they've seen a lack of energy, a lack of effort or commitment today. Maybe the last 20 minutes against Newcastle, I get the frustrations, but the fans... I think they're an honest group of fans and we want to give them honesty. 

"I've said that before - we want to give them an honest side that gives them everything.

"I thought Dwight McNeil was absolutely outstanding, Doucs [Abdoulaye Doucoure] with his constant energy, constant running, I thought Conor Coady did great when he came on, Amadou [Onana] tried to affect the game, Alex Iwobi stuck at it... Everyone is sticking at it.

"We took Dom off at half-time and we lost our left-back the day before the game so these are some of the challenges we're facing but I think they saw a team fully committed, they know that we are and now we need to take on these next two games."

Dyche also provided fitness updates on Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Vitalii Mykolenko. Click here to read the full story.