Xenia Sports – London
Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa is pleased new signing Raphinha has slotted in well to Premier League life after the Brazilian’s first goal for the club secured a 1-0 win at Everton.
In a wildly open game of 38 shots it took until 10 minutes from time for the deadlock to be broken with the £17million arrival from Rennes, who was a problem for the hosts all evening, finding the bottom corner from outside the penalty area.
“He is a player who has adapted very quickly to the Premier League,” said Bielsa.
“We identified he had the necessary qualities to adapt to the Premier League, and he is a player who moves all around and has the capacity to unbalance everywhere.
“This was an important factor. We also played against a rival who attacked and attacked well, and a rival who created goalscoring opportunities.
“And when an opponent attacks like they did, if we manage to recover the ball well it is perhaps less difficult for them to go and attack.”
In a match of so many chances the visitors did well to shackle the creative talents of James Rodriguez, who was closely marked by Stuart Dallas, and the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who had 10 goals in his previous nine matches.
“Everton have a front line who can unbalance: James, the number nine (Calvert-Lewin) and Richarlison as well,” added Bielsa.
“James is a player who if he manages to turn he is very good at assisting the number nine and Richarlison and we made a conscious effort to have someone close to him throughout and not let him do the thing he likes to do the most, which is turn and play those passes inside.
“Despite the efforts of Dallas, (Liam) Cooper and (Mateusz) Klich he was a player who was very difficult to neutralise.”
On England forward Calvert-Lewin, Bielsa said: “The whole team made a big effort defensively to stop them, especially our centre-backs against him.
“But he had chances to score and we worked so the opportunities he had on goal would be difficult ones.
“Nonetheless he was a player who was as dangerous as he usually is.”
Defeat was Everton’s fourth in five matches but despite that, and a record-equalling nine successive home league matches without a clean sheet, Ancelotti felt the only deciding factor was who scored the first goal.
“We knew (it would be) this kind of game, it was an open game, they had opportunities, more the first half compared to the second. We had opportunities in the first and second half,” he said.
“The team that could score before (first) could win the game. They scored before and this is why they win.
“They played well, we didn’t play bad but it was not enough to get the result.
“The opportunities we had we could be more clinical on the final pass or final shot. That was the game.
“We played bad against Southampton, we played bad against Newcastle; today it was a good game but not enough to win. We competed and if we could score before we could win.”