Pickford reveals role model teammate

Jordan Pickford says diligent striker Richarlison, who won a 90-minute game against Chelsea, provides a model for Everton’s approach during a critical run-in in the Premier League.

Everton are preparing for a hugely important fortnight, starting with a visit to Leicester City on Sunday and with four more games which will ultimately determine the club’s fate.

Manager Frank Lampard’s side were indebted to goalkeeper Pickford for a handful of first-class saves in Sunday’s priceless victory over European champions Chelsea.

The only goal, meanwhile, was scored by Richarlison after the Brazilian maintained his furious first-half work rate following the restart.

Richarlison, who reached his half-century of Everton goals in last month’s encounter with Burnley, jumped on Cesar Azpilicueta’s momentary hesitation and continued to attack goalkeeper Edouard Mendy clinically.

“It will be hard work over the last five games and it’s up to us as a team to keep working on the training ground every day, giving 100 per cent effort and commitment.” , said Pickford.

“If we do that, the quality will come.

“Richarlison worked hard for 45 minutes against Chelsea and had a few chances, then he got his reward with the goal in the 46e minute, because he had continued to work hard.

“Our character, our effort and our team spirit pushed us forward and, with the fans behind us as they were, it was amazing.

“Yes, we could enjoy the win – but we have to stay focused on getting results.

“It means preparing for the next game and our attentions now turn to Leicester on Sunday.”

Jordan Pickford

Our character, effort and team spirit drove us forward and, with the fans behind us as they were, it was amazing.

Applause rained down on Pickford after an individual display against Chelsea good enough for some observers to draw comparisons with Neville Southall, Everton’s greatest goalkeeper of them all.

Pickford made four exceptional saves as his goal came under fire from a Chelsea side stung by Richarlison’s opener.

The pick of the pack came when Azpilicueta tried to atone for his earlier mistake, the defender turning a shot on goal after Mason Mount’s clean low strike fired past both posts.

Pickford dove to his right in pursuit of Mount’s initial attempt, then quickly rose to fend off Azpilicueta’s effort to score on the other side of the net.

Everton goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly called the save “miraculous”.

The modest Pickford – who bravely fended off Antonio Rudiger’s clubbing strike with his face and frustrated Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic with athletic saves – chose not to use superlatives to describe his efforts.

Rather, the 28-year-old’s assessment focused on the galvanizing effect of the Evertonians who created one of the most partisan atmospheres in this campaign or any top-flight campaign.

“They’re very passionate and so are we as players,” Pickford said.

“To get that buzz on the bus [when fans greeted team coach on Goodison Road] is a great feeling, it touches you.

“It was about us putting on a performance and having the fans go home happy.

“I am a very passionate person and the result means to the world to me.

“I work hard all week to make one or two saves, or the number you need in a game.

“It’s rewarding when I do them to help the team because the team helps me too.

“It’s a team effort and when called upon I do my best to interfere with the ball.

“There are five games left and we have to keep fighting and come back.”

Rebecca R. Santistevan