Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
PA Seamus Coleman with Rafael Benitez (file pic).
# Gunned Down
Benitez lauds Everton’s ‘perfect’ comeback win, Coleman gives excellent captain's interview
The Toffees’ winless run came to an end in dramatic fashion with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Arsenal at Goodison Park.

EVERTON BOSS RAFAEL Benitez spoke of it being a “perfect” night after his side’s winless run came to an end in dramatic fashion with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Arsenal at Goodison Park.

After Martin Odegaard’s volley in first-half stoppage time put the visitors ahead, Richarlison – having had two efforts ruled out for offside via VAR checks either side of the opener – drew things level with a 79th-minute header, on the follow up after Demarai Gray hit the bar.

Gray then secured the Toffees’ first win in nine Premier League outings by sending a fine strike in off the post in the second minute of time added on at the end.

Benitez said in his post-match press conference: “I think we saw character in the first games (of the season) and today it was even better, in terms of two goals disallowed and the reaction of the team, the fans behind the team, everybody delighted at the end because of the great goal Demarai scored, and three points after that bad run.

“So I think everything was, you can say, perfect, no? In terms of the players, the fans, the performance and the final score.”

The game ended with the crowd in delirium, having earlier seen a small number of Everton fans leaving their seats in a protest over the running of the club. The demonstration happened in the 27th minute, with it being 27 years, come 2022, since they last won a trophy.

Benitez said: “I think since I came here, from day one the fans have been really good.

“The frustration of the fans in some games, it’s because obviously they want to see the team winning. But nobody can complain about the commitment, the desire, the effort of the players.

“We can complain about decisions in the final third or mistakes, but not about the commitment. Today I think the fans could appreciate that from the first minute.

“So I think they stick with the team, and today is another proof we are together, we are stronger, and that is what we have to do until the end of the season.”

Skipper Seamus Coleman touched on that in his post-match interview alongside matchwinner Gray on Sky Sports, after the Toffees moved from 16th to 12th.

“Whatever goes on behind the scenes, the fans always come here to support us — and then they need to see a reaction from us to get behind us,” the Donegal man said.

“They got behind us from minute one to minute 90, and they pushed us over the line. I think our performance showed that as well.

“I’ve been here 12 years, you’ve got to take the good with the bad. Sometimes they’re on your back, sometimes they’re not, but for 90 minutes, they support you — and when Demi [Demarai Gray] got his unbelievable goal at the end you could see the reaction.”

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In an excellent captain’s interview, Coleman praised Gray, and touched on bouncing back from his disappointing Merseyside derby.

“You hurt when you lose games, you hurt when you make mistakes. The Liverpool game, I took responsibility — I feel like we were getting back in the game, I made a mistake, but I’ve been around long enough to take the ups and the downs.

“You can’t get too high, you can’t get too low and whatever bit of criticism you get, you’ve got to take it on the chin because that’s part and parcel of football. You come in the next day, you work hard, and your luck eventually turns, and thankfully, Demi helped us over the line tonight.”

Gray also spoke of Coleman’s influence at the club, while reflecting on his “best moment here so far”:


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