Everton manager Sam Allardyce was full of praise for his side's persistence and determination after they salvaged a 1-1 draw against Southampton in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The Toffees trailed for most of the second half after Nathan Redmond headed home, but Tom Davies put some gloss on his side's undistinguished display with a wickedly deflected drive in the dying moments of the match.
Speaking to evertontv and quoted on the Everton website, Allardyce said: "The effort to not give up and never-say-die attitude and determination to keep going right until the end got us to a 1-1 draw."
At the same time, the Everton boss acknowledged that his side's performance had been poor: "Everybody in this league, particularly the guys who will win the league, says it is important that when they do not play well they still do not lose or they nick a win. We did not play well and we nicked a point."
Allardyce singled out full back Seamus Coleman for special praise, albeit more for his attitude than for his performance against the Saints:
"Seamus is a super professional in terms of his drive and commitment and always gives his best," said Allardyce, adding: "Even he admitted he was not at his best but he kept going like everybody else and he drives people on. He is a great example as a professional."
Some Everton fans seem very unhappy with eight place.— Team FA (@TeamFA) May 5, 2018
But apart from Burnley, they surely can’t expect to finish higher than any of the top 6.
From where they were when Big Sam took over, that’s a not bad at all.
Everton are now certain to finish in the top half of the Premier League table - an achievement which looked unlikely when Allardyce first took over from Ronald Koeman.
However, many Everton fans have never warmed to their current manager or his tactics - and his side's lukewarm display against the relegation-threatened Saints is unlikely to change that.