Jordan Pickford insists there were “a lot of positives” - and a few lessons to learn - from Everton’s 2-2 draw at Sheffield United on Saturday.
But the goalkeeper says it was crucial for the Blues to get a reward from another encouraging performance, with Sean Dyche’s side able to move forward with returning players after the international break.
The Blues bagged their first Premier League point of 2023/24 at Bramall Lane as Adboulaye Doucoure opened the scoring and Arnaut Danjuma hit a second-half equaliser - his second goal in three days – to ensure Everton were not left empty-handed from a largely-dominant display this time around.
While Pickford admitted the visitors should have won, Dyche’s men were thankful for a stunning double save from the England No.1 in the eighth minute of added time as he turned Ollie McBurnie’s header on to the crossbar and then tipped his follow-up on to the post.
“It was good,” Pickford said of his late heroics. “You’ve got to be in the moment. They were a threat on set pieces, they are a hard team to beat but we should have won it. I’ve got to e concentrating for 100 minutes, that’s my job, to pull off saves and help the team when called upon.”
Pickford was also pleased to make up for a horrid slice of misfortune in first-half injury-time when Cameron Archer’s curling 20-yard shot kissed the post and hit the keeper on the back before crossing the line.
“[My late save] was a good moment with the unfortunate own goal in the first half,” added the 29-year-old. “There’s a lot of positives – and a few negatives – we can take away from the game.
“The main thing is we got a point. We wanted three but it’s a start on the board.
“There were a lot of mistakes that happened before their second goal that we need to iron out as a team. We were 1-0 up and took our foot off the gas and let them back in the game with little errors. It’s something we need to learn from as a team, moving forward and to keep pushing on.”
Dyche was able to name only seven players on his substitutes’ bench for the clash in Yorkshire due to injuries.
However, with Dwight McNeil coming on in the second half after recovering from an ankle problem and the likes of summer signing Jack Harrison and striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin set to return following the upcoming international break – along with recent recruits Beto and Danjuma impressing – Pickford is confident Everton can push on.
“We’ve got some new signings, a few players coming back from injuries. The squad’s going to strengthen and we just need to go forward as a team and be hard to beat,” he said.
“Beto gives 100 per cent. He’s a great threat in behind, holds the ball up well and the fans have loved him straight away.
“Danjuma scored again today which is a positive sign for us, Dwighty came back for us so there’s a lot of positives going forward but we need to start keeping clean sheets, being hard to beat as an XI, take responsibility from that and work hard.
“It’s disappointing not to take all three points but positive we got a point.”