Carlo Ancelotti was more impressed with Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s defensive duties than the striker’s goal in Everton’s 2-1 win at Leeds.
Calvert-Lewin struck his first goal in eight Premier League games to give Everton a 2-0 half-time lead after his captain Gylfi Sigurdsson had opened the scoring in the ninth minute.
It was Calvert-Lewin’s 12th Premier League goal of the season and although Raphinha reduced the deficit soon after half-time, Ancelotti’s side defended doggedly to register a fourth successive away league win.
“I think in my opinion it was more important the work that he (Calvert-Lewin) did with Sigurdsson defensively,” Ancelotti said.
“We needed this kind of work from our strikers, Richarlison included, (Alex) Iwobi, and after that they scored two fantastic goals.
“I’m pleased for this, but more for the work that they did defensively.”
Everton last won four straight games on the road in the top flight in 1985 and victory at Elland Road was their seventh away from home this season.
“This is a result of this season,” said Ancelotti. “All the teams have more possibility to win away because there is no crowd there in the stand.
“This is the reason. We have a really fantastic run away. Of course, we have to be focused more at home because we’ve lost a lot of games at home.”
Everton rode their luck at times in an end-to-end encounter and were indebted to goalkeeper Robin Olsen, deputising for the injured Jordan Pickford.
The Sweden international made two crucial first-half saves to deny Raphinha and Pascal Struijk and three in quick succession in the second period to keep out efforts from Mateusz Klich, Raphinha and Jack Harrison.
“He made some super saves,” added Ancelotti, who said he hoped Pickford could recover from a rib injury in time for Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford.
“We knew it was difficult. We won the game because we defended well. This is quite clear. Olsen had a big part in this game. Agreed.”
Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa felt his side created more than enough chances and did not deserve to lose the game.
Ezgjan Alioski’s volley direct from Raphinha’s first-half corner hit a post and Patrick Bamford’s second-half header looped on to the crossbar.
“I think we did enough to draw the game and even then we could have won it,” Bielsa said.
“That’s to say we had enough chances in the first half and the second half to draw the game.
“We managed to avoid the third goal and we scored and got back into the game, and we had plenty of time to try and win it.”
Players from both sides struggled to keep their feet at times on an Elland Road playing surface that was re-laid after their home defeat to Brighton 18 days ago.
“I only saw my team slipping, I didn’t see the opponents slipping,” Bielsa added.
“But we’re very happy to count on a pitch that is much better than the last few games. It’s impossible to say why we kept slipping.”