Article

Relieved Koeman hails ´incredible´ Niasse

23 September 2017 19:09

Ronald Koeman has lauded Oumar Niasse's "incredible" performance after the former Everton outcast came off the bench to secure a dramatic 2-1 victory over Bournemouth.

Josh King's 49th-minute strike looked set to condemn Everton to a fourth straight Premier League defeat, with the pressure mounting on Koeman.

However, Niasse - who the Dutchman cast aside after just one pre-season match last term - salvaged the points with a late double to lift Everton out of the bottom three.

And Koeman, whose side were below-par for much of Saturday's home encounter, was quick to acknowledge the importance of Niasse's display.

"We didn't create a lot - maybe two penalty situations - it wasn't enough," he said. "But we did the best we could at the time, changed the system, and Oumar was incredible.

"He has not surprised me. Last season was a totally different situation as we had Romelu Lukaku. The boy has those kind of qualities that we need when we are struggling. 

"For me, for the players, for everybody the win was important. Everyone knows the situation of managers.

"If you win you are sure about your job. If you lose you are not sure about your job - this is ridiculous. But this was a must-win."

Niasse's goals are his first for Everton in the top flight and came hot on the back of his maiden goal for the club in the EFL Cup victory over Sunderland in midweek.

The Senegal striker - a £13million arrival in 2016 under Roberto Martinez - was loaned out to Hull City last term and looked set to join Crystal Palace late in the transfer window.

His move to the capital broke down, however, and the 27-year-old is determined to make the most of his second chance at Everton.

"I always keep fighting - it was a difficult time for me but I always try my best," Niasse said.

"I didn't sign for another team. I signed for Everton. So even if I don't have the chance from the beginning, now I have to take it with both of my hands and I'm thankful for that."

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, meanwhile, was left to rue his side's failure to build on their lead, Jermain Defoe having squandered a gilt-edged opportunity shortly after King's opener.

"I thought we were the dominant team," Howe told BBC Sport.

"It is frustrating from our perspective to come here and put that kind of performance in and not get anything. We had chances to kill the game but at 1-0 they always have a chance."

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