Everton boss Sean Dyche says they “must strive for more” after securing the win they required against Bournemouth to ensure Premier League safety on an afternoon of nerve-shredding tension at Goodison Park.
Dyche’s side knew victory would guarantee survival irrespective of events elsewhere, but for a time they were in the drop zone as they struggled to break down Bournemouth and Leicester City were beating West Ham United.
Abdoulaye Doucoure broke the deadlock after 57 minutes, sparking an explosion of elation and relief with a powerful right-foot finish from 20 yards that gave Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers no chance of saving it.
As the tension mounted, Everton survived a couple of Bournemouth near misses and an agonising 10 minutes of stoppage time before they could confirm they would be extending their 69-year stay in English football’s top tier.
“There’s a lot to do,” Dyche told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I have assured the players that they need to be ready to work.
“Players can get trapped in low-level acceptance and there have been times where they have thought it will be all right and it won’t be all right. You have to continually work for it – you can’t just accept all right, you have to strive for more.
“You’ve got to remember, the rhetoric around here has been negative all the time. There is an undercurrent at Everton Football Club. We’ve got to change that. It’s only us that can change that.”
Everton escape again
The celebrations among Everton fans at the final whistle were understandable, having been put through the wringer once more in being made to wait until the season’s final game to confirm Premier League safety – they only got over the line in the penultimate match last term.
And it did not take long for loud chants of “sack the board” to sweep around Goodison Park as the fractured relationship between supporters and the club’s hierarchy bubbled to the surface once again.
The brief moment of joy and relief at full-time did not disguise the ill-feeling, with the Everton board having not attended a home game since January, citing safety concerns.
“I said it [survival] was fantastic in many ways and to enjoy the moment but don’t forget that overall for the season it’s disappointing,” added Dyche. “We need to demand more, recruit more and everything. There’s so many things here. There’s a lot of work that needs doing.
“I feel there has to be a real alignment. I don’t think the club is ready to be thinking about the big stuff.”
As for the game itself, it was a predictably scrappy affair on an occasion riddled with nerves – frustration mounting as Everton faced the drop with Leicester winning and Bournemouth holding firm.
It took that moment of magic from Doucoure to keep Everton in the top flight, but unless there are serious changes at the top of the club and Dyche can somehow improve a squad that has struggled so badly, then there is every chance they will face similar struggles next season.
“It was incredible,” said Doucoure about his winner. “I think about all the season, all my personal life, everything.”
The midfielder added: “I’m not a hero. Nobody is here. We work and play for Everton Football Club. We have to be much better than that.
“We need to realise the mistakes we made this season. Everyone showed passion at the end but next season we need to come back stronger and put Everton high up.”
Bournemouth defy the odds
No-one at Leeds United and Leicester City, the clubs hoping for a favour, could complain about Bournemouth’s levels of commitment and determination to get a result.
It was, in fact, a feisty affair with plenty of physical challenges and a yellow card for Cherries manager Gary O’Neil as touchline tensions threatened to boil over.
O’Neil deserves huge credit for the calm and composed manner in which he has succeeded the sacked Scott Parker and ensured safety with something to spare for a club who were regarded as relegation favourites in the early stages of the season.
Bournemouth can congratulate themselves on a job very satisfactorily done as they contemplate another season in the Premier League.
- 1PickfordBooked at 74mins
- 11GraySubstituted forSimmsat 87′minutes
- 15A SmithBooked at 70minsSubstituted forAnthonyat 83′minutes
- 25SenesiBooked at 68mins
- 7BrooksSubstituted forViñaat 56′minutes
- 10ChristieSubstituted forMooreat 65′minutes
- 9SolankeBooked at 70mins
- 4L Cook
Match ends, Everton 1, Bournemouth 0.
Second Half ends, Everton 1, Bournemouth 0.
Foul by Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth).
Yerry Mina (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Everton. Conceded by Mark Travers.
Attempt saved. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Everton) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Dwight McNeil.
Jaidon Anthony (Bournemouth) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by James Garner (Everton).
Attempt saved. Matías Viña (Bournemouth) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kieffer Moore with a headed pass.
Philip Billing (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Idrissa Gueye (Everton).
Offside, Bournemouth. Dango Ouattara tries a through ball, but Dominic Solanke is caught offside.
Lloyd Kelly (Bournemouth) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Amadou Onana (Everton).
Attempt missed. James Tarkowski (Everton) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Dwight McNeil with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Everton. Conceded by Philip Billing.
Substitution, Everton. Ellis Simms replaces Demarai Gray because of an injury.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match because of an injury Demarai Gray (Everton).
Corner, Everton. Conceded by Jaidon Anthony.
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