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01:40 Sun 11 Nov 2018

Keane: Chelsea Point Lays Foundations For Blues Campaign

Michael Keane says Everton’s fully-merited point from a frantic encounter with Chelsea provides a platform to build on for the remainder of the campaign.

Centre-back Keane produced his latest authoritative display of a personally excellent season, as the Blues became the first team in 2018/19 to shut out Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Marco Silva’s side has conceded only four goals in their past six games, a period in which they have lost just once and recorded two clean sheets.

Everton go into the international break - when four-cap Keane will link up with England after being recalled to Gareth Southgate's squad for matches with USA and Croatia - in ninth spot but only one point adrift of the Premier League’s top six.

“It was a very good point, we know what a strong start Chelsea have had and to come away from home and keep a clean sheet was the most pleasing thing from the afternoon,” said Keane.

"To come to Stamford Bridge and grind it out like that is something we can build on.

“It was a physical game and we stayed very organised. It was about keeping our shape, knowing when to press and sit off because they have a lot of runners from midfield.

“We battled really well, won a lot of our challenges and 50/50s and stayed on top of the game. And I thought we were fully worthy of a point.”

Indeed, Everton could conceivably have returned up the M6 with all three points had the Blues converted any of the openings they created during the course of a contest which toed and froed throughout 90 absorbing minutes.

Bernard sent a shot screaming marginally off target early in the game and the same player caught the ball under his feet when attempting to finish from a Gylfi Sigurdsson cross after half-time.

Sigurdsson drew a smart reflex stop from Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalga and substitute Ademola Lookman cut a swathe through the hosts' rearguard late on before running out of space to fire off a shot.

Chelsea, though, came into the match having scored 15 goals in their six home games this season and sitting within striking distance of Manchester City at the Premier League’s summit.

Eden Hazard, Marcos Alonso and Alvaro Morata all called on Jordan Pickford to be at his acrobatic best – while Keane and debutant Yerry Mina formed a hardy barrier in the middle of the Blues’ back four.

“We played good football at times and caused them some problems – although we were maybe not as fluid as we wanted in the second half,” added Keane.

“You have to remain focused defensively against Chelsea. If the striker goes short, they have two midfielders running past you, we were very wary of that and it helped us.

“Jordan made some good saves but they did not cut us open.

“We worked on our plan on the training pitch, in the two or three days leading up to the game.

“Then it was about talking and organising on the pitch – and we did that to a man today.

“It was important to get a good result, to keep our momentum going and head into the international break feeling positive.”

Chelsea v Everton

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