The former Tottenham Hotspur came off the bench to play a huge role in Everton’s push towards Premier League survival and Calvert-Lewin was hugely impressed with his contributions
Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin was left waxing lyrical about Dele Alli after the midfielder played a key role in the Toffees’ push towards survival against Crystal Palace.
The Merseyside outfit sealed their place in the Premier League for next season with a dramatic 3-2 victory against Patrick Vieira’s men at Goodison Park. It initially looked like they were set for an anxious final day of the season after they found themselves two goals down.
Strikes from Jean Philippe-Mateta and Jordan Ayew had put Palace in control before Michael Keane, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin himself all scored after the half-time interval to finally ensure Everton ’s safety. Whilst the goalscorers will steal the headlines on the evening, the England man paid tribute to Alli for his contributions after being introduced for Andre Gomes at the break and praised manager Frank Lampard for his tactical thinking behind the change.
Speaking to beINSport after the final whistle at Goodison Park, the striker said: “I think we started the game with five at the back and they were overloading us in midfield and it was difficult for us to press. I think you could see that.
“We wanted to go but the gaps were too big. The manager switched it to a 4-3-3. Alex Iwobi came in midfield and Dele, forward thinking player. I think ultimately that made the difference.
“I thought Dele was excellent when he came on. He’s had to wait for his chance and he’s taken his chance in the biggest moment of the season. The change in system was the big difference and we knew that we had to get the first goal and once we got that, it was a domino effect.”
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Calvert-Lewin also gave himself a moment of glory though having scored the goal to keep the Toffees in the Premier League – a strike that triggered wild celebrations at Goodison Park. The 25-year-old did nothing to hide the importance of the goal.
“I think it is yeah [the biggest goal of his career], definitely without a shadow of a doubt,” he continued. “The amount of importance on that game and that three points was beyond belief.
“The way we started the first half you’re thinking we need to produce something that we’ve not produced before and score three goals in the second-half and to score the winner, what a feeling. It’s all a bit of a blur to be honest. The way it kind of went was just crazy.
“The best feeling in the world. As a striker, I crave that feeling. When you go a while without getting it, it feels further and further away and that’s the hardest part, just kind of staying relaxed and waiting for your chance.
“That goal today is the best goal I’ve ever scored in terms of the atmosphere and the celebration after and just a big, big relief.”
Everton now head into the final day assured of their spot in the top-flight next season. They face Arsenal with the pressure off but are sure to be in for a testing afternoon at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday with the Gunners still battling to earn a place in the Champions League.