By Carl Markham
Everton defender Seamus Coleman admits he felt he had a point to prove after facing criticism in recent weeks.
The Republic of Ireland international scored his first goal for 652 days in the 3-1 win over Brighton and his celebration was suitably emotional with a hands-to-the-ears celebration in front of the Gwladys Street End. However, Coleman, who was sidelined for 10 months after an horrific double fracture of his leg in March 2017, insists he was not having a go back at fans but merely trying to show he was back to his best.
“I’m the first to criticise myself and the last couple of games I’ve probably not been where I want to be,” he said.
“I’ve been out for four weeks and I didn’t do a lot of training and part of my game is my fitness but I felt much better, much fitter and I just wanted to prove a point.
“I am a person who is very capable of taking it on the chin and knowing when I am not good enough. I’ve been here nine years and had good spells of form and bad spells of form. Players can be very precious over criticism. It’s part and parcel of the game.
“As footballers we all get stick so it’s not like I’m having a go back at the fans, it’s just me saying ‘I’m all right’. When I am fit and at it I am OK. When I came back here in January [for his first game after recovering from his broken leg] and played against Leicester, the reception I got from Everton fans is something which will stay with me for a long time. The fans understand the love I have for them and vice-versa.”
While Coleman has not been at his best in recent weeks he refused to look for excuses and insists the leg which was broken has never been a problem for him since making his comeback.
“Never for a second. It does not give me a day’s bother,” he added.
“Unfortunately the injury I’ve had this season [stress fracture of a foot] has turned out to be very frustrating; coming back, pulling out, coming back.
“But there are no excuses, to play in the Premier League you have to be at the top level and if you are not you get found out.
“Unfortunately this season I’ve not been up to my own high standards and I’m the first to admit that.
“The other thing is because I’ve scored a goal it doesn’t mean I’m the best player in the world.”
Leicester honoured the memory of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha by making a winning return to action at Cardiff.
On an emotional afternoon in south Wales, Demarai Gray dedicated his 55th-minute goal to Srivaddhanaprabha as Leicester won 1-0 at Cardiff.
Newcastle got their first Premier League win of the season at the 11th attempt as Watford were made to pay for missed opportunities at St James’ Park. Ayoze Perez glanced fellow substitute Ki Sung-yueng’s driven 65th-minute free-kick home to claim a priceless 1-0 victory at the end of another testing week for Rafael Benitez’s side.
West Ham’s record signing Felipe Anderson began repaying his price tag by netting twice in a rollercoaster 4-2 win against Burnley.
It was far from plain sailing for the Hammers, who were twice pegged back by goals from Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Chris Wood.
Marko Arnautovic had opened the scoring, but they were not assured of the points until Javier Hernandez struck the fourth in stoppage time.
Everton netted a fourth win in five Premier League matches by overcoming Brighton 3-1 at Goodison Park.
Lewis Dunk’s header had cancelled out Richarlison’s fifth goal of the season midway through the first half, but captain Seamus Coleman answered his critics by putting the Toffees back ahead.
Richarlison capitalised on Dunk’s 77th-minute error to end Brighton’s mini-resurgence and wrap up three points for Marco Silva’s men.