Keane's Cause For Optimism

Defender Michael Keane believes Everton can draw on the positive aspects of Saturday's performance against Fulham and felt on another day, the team would have been rewarded with a win.  

The Blues started the new Premier League campaign brightly, registering 19 attempts, nine shots on target and a dominant xG of 2.73 - the third-highest of the weekend.  

Keane himself had a goal ruled out under dubious circumstances in the first half after teammate James Tarkowski was penalised for a foul on Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno.  

That summed up Everton's misfortune in front of goal, while a strike from Fulham substitute Bobby De Cordova-Reid late in the second half against the run of play condemned the Toffees to an unwarranted 1-0 defeat.  

Despite the frustration at the result, Keane was left buoyed by the display and is confident that similar performances will deliver more deserving positive results going forward. 

"I thought we played really well," he told evertontv. "We created a lot of chances, we looked threatening every time we went forward, really. It felt like one of those days where the ball just wouldn't go in for us.  

"If we would have got that first goal, everything would have changed. Fulham are a good team, but we were better than them on the day. It's as simple as that. Speaking to their staff, they said that they could not remember a time in which they had so many chances created against them.  

"We failed to score and in the Premier League it's tough, we get punished. We defended really well in general, they didn't have many moments and it is a bit of a sucker punch to lose the game. We know we played well and on another day we win the game.  

"We have to take the positives and go again next week." 

Michael Keane
We know we played well and on another day we win the game.

Neal Maupay led the Everton attack superbly on Saturday, harrying the Fulham backline and linking well with teammates around him. He had four shots, three of which were on target, and was unfortunate not to see at least one hit the back of the net.

While Keane was just as disappointed as all Evertonians not to see the Blues find a route past Leno, he was keen to point out that similar displays from the French forward will see him get his just reward soon enough.  

"To be fair to Neal he has been incredible in pre-season," he added. "He will probably think he could have scored a couple, but he's been outstanding. If he keeps going, he will get the goals."  

Despite the different defensive options available to him, Keane was selected by Dyche to start in the heart of the Everton defence on Saturday. He rewarded his manager's faith with a commanding personal display.   

No Everton player made more clearances on the day (3) and, from the Blues' players who completed a full 90 minutes, only Idrissa Gana Gueye attempted more passes than Keane (52) - who also registered the second-highest pass success rate (88.5 per cent).  

Reflecting on his performance, he said: "I thought I was solid, I did alright. I'm still getting fitter, I had a solid pre-season but match fitness can get better so I am hoping to have a good season. I'm disappointed we lost on Saturday but I thought I did alright." 

Up next for Dyche's side is a trip to Birmingham to take on Aston Villa (Sunday, kick-off 2pm BST).