Everton 1-0 Sheffield United: Abdoulaye Doucoure scores winner

Everton 1-0 Sheffield United: Abdoulaye Doucoure scores winner

11 May 2024 0 By Total Football News

With blue skies above Goodison Park, the home supporters enjoyed a some-what party atmosphere, knowing their top-flight status had been assured for next season and they generously applauded the players off at full-time.

“The fans have earned the right to enjoy it, not just the team,” said manager Sean Dyche. “The fans have joined in with the team and stuck by us during difficult times this season, not only on the pitch but off it at times too. And they are still there.

“It was nice for the players to be able to do a lap at the end there to show their appreciation.”

But the on-field security is counteracted by the continued uncertainty off the field with the protracted takeover by 777 Partners looking less likely as each day goes by.

777 figures have been almost ever-present during home games since agreeing to buy owner Farhad Moshiri’s 94% stake in the club in September, but nobody senior from the Miami-based private investment firm seemed to be in attendance on Saturday.

Boss Dyche has spoken about planning for next season being made difficult, with the futures of out-of-contract players Seamus Coleman and Andre Gomes in doubt, while prized asset Jarrad Branthwaite could be sold to balance the books financially.

But all those worries were put aside for 90 minutes, as Doucoure – whose goal on the final day last season ensured safety – nodded home after goalkeeper Wes Foderingham failed to close down Calvert-Lewin.

After the 6-0 thrashing by Chelsea on 15 April, Dyche admitted to harsh words being spoken with his players and they have responded with four wins and a draw in their fixtures thereafter.

This was also their 13th clean sheet of the campaign, bettered only by title-chasing Arsenal, who the Blues face next Sunday with the opportunity of denying them the trophy should the race go that far.

Chris Wilder’s visitors, meanwhile, now have the unwanted record of shipping the most goals in Premier League season and they have also failed to keep a clean sheet in all 19 away games.

Only Sunderland and Derby have fared worse than their tally of 16 points and they will aim to end their dismal top-flight stay by retrieving some pride against Spurs.

Wilder added: “I’ve not had the impact on the group that I would have liked to have had, but I’m not sure many managers would have had a better impact, that is the way it is.

“We have to move on quickly and get it right for next year. We need to give them something to shout about next year.”

This article was originally posted on https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/live/c99z2v8dn8nt