Pickford fixes Everton’s target
Jordan Pickford says Everton needs to “cool off” and stay focused before a first visit to Brentford Community Stadium on Sunday.
Goalkeeper Pickford maintained his own impeccable form in the weekend’s loss to Manchester City, producing a pair of one-on-one saves in a game where Everton held off the Premier League champions until half-time.
There was no turning back after Raheem Sterling’s 44e-minute strike, however, and Everton head to Brentford, playing their first top season in 74 years, looking for three points and a potential comeback in the top half of the table.
Rafa Benitez will pick a side in West London without a host of important figures, including Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, the manager’s first-choice pair of strikers at the start of the season, and the tireless midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure.
“We are all Premier League players and we all have quality,” Pickford said.
âWe’ve had a few injuries, but people have the opportunity to come and we all have to take those opportunities.
âWe are all capable of playing and when the manager chooses his eleven, we have to play.
âYou know you’re up against at City, they’re a top team and won the title and reached the Champions League final last season.
“We conceded three, which we weren’t happy with, and we didn’t convert our counterattack opportunities or get a shot on target to injure [City goalkeeper] Ederson.
âThe manager sets you up every week and you trust that plan and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
âWe have to move on, let the dust settle and work hard all week.
“We need to be calm and cool off for Brentford on Sunday.”
Pickford made his 300e appearance of the senior club during the meeting with City. More than half of those games – 173 – have come for Everton, the club he joined from Sunderland in the summer of 2017.
The 27-year-old has established himself as this country’s top goalkeeper following his move to Goodison Park and has reached a World Cup semi-final and European Championship final with England in the past three years.
He returned to Everton to face City’s supercharged attack after celebrating his 42nd birthdaysd cap with a 21st clean sheet in a World Cup qualifying win over Albania this month
Pickford stood up to fend off Bernardo Silva from close and stretched out to prevent Sterling from scoring a second goal.
You have to move on, let the dust settle, and work hard all week. We need to be calm and cool off for Brentford on Sunday.
Sterling’s previous strike cleared the way for Rodri to make an unstoppable long-range effort after half-time, with midfielder Silva appearing late in the box to come home and complete the scoring.
Everton’s first chance to respond to Sunday’s setback is against newly promoted Brentford, who has won three wins and drew in 12 Premier League games this season.
“Manchester City are such a good team, we tried to make it hard for them to get through us, but sometimes they are successful and that’s when I’m going to be called up and I gotta be in the moment, âPickford said.
âThey scored just before half-time, which hurt us a bit.
“We have reset as a team [during half-time], we’re strong mentally, but they were the best team and we have to give them credit for that, the football they play is amazing.
âSome games don’t go your way and you have to focus on the next one.
“We are all human [so feel down after losing] but it’s about working hard every day and giving 100% on the training ground, which we do.
âThis is Brentford now. Every Premier League game is tough, but we have to get a result next weekend.