Abdoulaye Doucoure, the player whose goal secured Everton’s place in the Premier League, has cautioned his teammates about the need for improvement. He believes it would be unacceptable for the club to be involved in a relegation battle for a third consecutive season, writes the LiverpoolEcho.
Everton holds the record for the most seasons spent in the top flight of English football and is now preparing for their 121st campaign at the elite level. However, prior to Doucoure’s remarkable goal in the 57th minute of their final match against Bournemouth in the 2022/23 season, they were on the verge of their first relegation in 72 years.
Although they managed to avoid relegation, it marked Everton’s lowest points total in their entire 135-year history in the Football League/Premier League. Doucoure acknowledges that their performance has not been up to par and emphasizes the need for improvement.
Doucoure told evertonfc.com: “Obviously, I love to score goals and this one was maybe the best and most important of my career, so I’m very happy. I’m delighted for my teammates and for the club, but we must now look forward.
“We’ve been in this position for two seasons now, so we can’t go back to this every year. We are going to reflect on what happened and the mistakes we made. For each player, I don’t think the season was good enough.
“When you play for Everton, you need to be much better than that. I don’t think Bournemouth was our best game, me included, but you have to believe. When you represent Everton, you have to always give your best.”
Doucoure, whose one-year contract extension had been triggered by the club prior to the match, acknowledges that he was aware of the scoreline from the King Power Stadium that could have resulted in Everton’s relegation. However, the team knew that their fate was still in their own hands, and as long as they secured a victory in their own game, they would survive. He said that the manager always had faith in us, and every player had faith in one another.
“I did hear Leicester were winning, but I was always just focused on winning our game. In my head I was thinking of maybe scoring a winner and thank God, I scored that one.
“We knew we needed to win the game, no matter what the others were going to do. We needed to win at home, especially.”