Zouma sets sights on Watford clash after missed chances prove costly for Everton

Kurt Zouma refused to dwell on missed opportunities after Everton were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Newcastle on Wednesday.

Everton did climb back up to sixth in the Premier League after recovering from the shock of conceding early to the defence-minded Magpies at Goodison Park, but they spurned some gilt-edged chances to claim victory.

Marco Silva’s side, who had been hoping to bounce back after Sunday’s agonising last-gasp derby defeat at Liverpool, are eight points behind eighth-placed Arsenal ahead of this weekend’s clash with Watford.

Defender Zouma said: “Everybody is disappointed with the result. Unfortunately we couldn’t score a second one.

“We conceded a goal with the only chance they had in the first half. Then they stayed compact, tried to defend and keep the points.

“I think we were a bit unlucky, especially in the first half. We could have scored more goals, but we scored one, we came back in the game. That is the most important thing, but we need to get back to winning ways as quickly as possible.”

Newcastle’s breaks were rare, but, with Salomon Rondon up front, they had a cutting edge. Rondon opened the scoring with his third goal in four games when he slid on to Jacob Murphy’s fine cross in the 19th minute.

Richarlison levelled for Everton before the break, moments after he had forced a save from Martin Dubravka and Ademola Lookman had a penalty appeal declined.

Everton, however, were left wondering how they did not lead at the interval after further chances fell to Gylfi Sigurdsson and Cenk Tosun. A spilt-second delay from Sigurdsson allowed Federico Fernadez to produce a fine block, while Tosun was denied by a stunning point-blank save from Dubrakva.

The intensity of the game dropped in the second half as Newcastle sat deep, but the visitors almost snatched a late win as Christian Atsu tested Jordan Pickford.

Atsu, who had a loan spell at Everton four years ago, said: “I have been waiting to have my chance again and I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t score because I was mentally prepared to score.

“I had said to myself I had to score in this game. I had the chances and I couldn’t score, but I will keep working hard in training to see what happens.”

Newcastle, playing amid fresh talk of a takeover at the club, were happy enough with the result, which lifted them four points clear of the bottom three.

Ghana midfielder Atsu said: “This was a very good game for both teams. We drew so we have a lot of positives. It is a big encouragement for us.

“We just keep working hard as a team. The way we defended, the way we attacked was very good.

“Against Everton, to play like this and create chances is a positive result for us.”

- Press Association

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