Tosun enjoys praising by boss after Stoke victory
STOKE-ON-TRENT - Reuters
Turkey international forward Cenk Tosun struck twice after the break as Everton beat 10-man Stoke City 2-1 in the snowy Midlands to end a miserable away run in the Premier League on March 17, receiving compliments from the team boss.
“We had a goal scorer at one end who was clinical and turned the game in our favor with the first goal and when we sloppily gave a free-kick and gave a goal away he pops up with a second which was a wonderful finish and a wonderful cross,” Everton manager Sam Allardyce said after the game.
“I think his confidence is gained by us taking him out early doors when everyone was going: ‘Why aren’t you playing him?’
“You know, it’s the usual rubbish you get from outside the football club. They say: ‘You pay all that money and don’t play him, why not?’
That’s because they don’t know. I do, they don’t,” Allardyce said, prasinig for his striker for additional tranining.
“I think I’ve settled in very well. I feel better,” Tosun said. Stoke had Charlie Adam sent off before halftime for a rash foul on Wayne Rooney but defended resolutely to hold the visitors at bay until the 69th minute when Tosun scored from close range after having a first attempt saved.
When substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting poked in Joe Allen’s free kick in the 77th minute, injuring himself in the process, it seemed second-bottom Stoke might salvage an important point in the relegation scrap.
But their hopes were crushed when Tosun beat England keeper Jack Butland with a diving header from Theo Walcott’s delivery to end a run of five straight away league defeats for Everton.
Stoke remained three points below the safety zone and with games against Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool next month their 10-year residence in the top flight is in peril. Adam got his marching orders in the 30th minute for a lunging two-footed tackle on Rooney and manager Paul Lambert had no complaints about that decision. He was upset, however, at Tosun’s opening goal, feeling the Turkish player was offside for his initial effort, which was saved by Butland before the ball came back to him.
Choupo-Moting was only on the pitch seven minutes, coming on in the 72nd minute, scoring the equaliser and then hobbling off. Tosun’s stylish second goal, his fourth in three games, earned Everton back-to-back league wins for the first time since December, and the 26-year-old said he was now up to speed after his big-money move from Beşiktaş in January.
Allardyce said his ninth-placed side should now be safe and could start to look up rather than down.
“It puts us on the 40-point mark, and even though mathematically we are not safe, I don’t think anyone can catch us now and we can start to prepare for next season,” he said.
Salah can pass Messi and be best in world, insists Klopp
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes comparisons between Mohamed Salah and Barcelona’s five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi are premature, but that the Egyptian is on his way to one day becoming the best player in the world.
Salah’s stunning season continued with a four-goal haul in a 5-0 thrashing of Watford at Anfield to take his tally for the season to 36 on March 17 - the most goals ever scored by a Liverpool player in their debut year at the club.
Messi showed why he is still widely considered the world’s best by scoring his 100th Champions League goal in tearing Chelsea apart in a 3-0 win on March 14. But Klopp believes Salah, 25, has time on his side to succeed Messi and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo, both now in their thirties, as the world’s best player.
“I think Mo is on the way [to being the best in the World],” said Klopp.
“I don’t think Mo or anybody else wants to be compared with Lionel Messi. He is the one who is doing what he’s doing for what feels like 20 years or so.”
And Klopp challenged Salah to maintain the standards he has set this season in the manner Messi and Ronaldo have for the past decade: “As it always is in life, if you have the skills, you have to show that constantly.”