Asmir Begovic believes Everton’s penalty shootout victory over Celtic will help rebuild his side’s confidence and hailed the performances of three young stars, writes the LiverpoolEcho.
After a goalless 90 minutes, Everton claimed their first Sydney Super Cup victory with a penalty shootout win in front of 41,000 supporters at the Accor Stadium. The Blues face Western Sydney Wanderers in their final game of the competition on Wednesday.
Both sides had chances throughout the game and Everton’s best fell the way of Neal Maupay inside the opening 45 minutes. After being sent in the clear by Vitaliy Mykolenko, the forward chipped the ball wide from the edge of the box. While for Celtic, Liel Abada couldn’t convert from close range after he connected with James Forrest’s low cross.
The Blues arrived in Australia just one point above the drop zone after defeat to Bournemouth in their final Premier League game before the break for the World Cup. That defeat came just days after Frank Lampard’s side were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by the Cherries.
“Of course, it’s always nice to win. Every good performance, every good result helps with that [confidence],” Begovic told evertontv post-match.
“We had a difficult week and that’s how quickly things can change in football – one bad week and things can look a little bit doom and gloom, but we’re going to try to rebuild.
“We’ve got a good break here coming up as well. Hopefully we can finish the tour with another good performance and result on Wednesday and then take stock from there and see what we can do in the second half of the season.
“Today’s result was good for the atmosphere and obviously very important to our fans here. There was a huge number of them here and I didn’t know we had this many fans in Australia, to be honest.
“It just shows how big of a club Everton is. We always talk about it but whenever we travel, you see Blues all around and it just confirms that feeling and shows the tradition of the fanbase around the world.
“It’s been great to come here – I know Everton haven’t been here in a long time, so to come here and see the fans and put on a performance for them is very pleasing.
“It was nice to win, nice to put on a performance, and when you play a team like Celtic you know you’re always going to be in for a competitive game – that’s exactly what we got today.
“I think the commitment, the effort the attitude was spot on, which is exactly what you need.
“Obviously, we’ve had a long few days travelling and everything so we need to be fully committed to get a performance and that’s exactly what we did. It’s nice to get the reward at the end.”
Speaking post-match, Blues boss Lampard credited Isaac Price with being ‘the best player on the pitch’ following his display at the Accor Stadium. Price was joined by fellow youngsters Tom Cannon and Stanley Mills in featuring for the Blues, and Begovic was quick to praise all three after the game.
He said: “It’s impressive. Some of the young lads are with us in training and they’ve been getting appearances here and there. You can see the development, you can see the growth.
“Everton are very famous for bringing through their Academy players and I think there are a few boys here who have a chance to progress and play their part in years to come.
“I thought Isaac was outstanding today but so were the other boys when they came on – they did a really good job and helped us get the win.”