Marco Silva hails goalkeeper Jordan Pickford

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Marco Silva hailed Jordan Pickford after a late save from the England goalkeeper ensured Everton claimed a point against Newcastle.

Pickford denied Christian Atsu four minutes from time at Goodison Park as a tight Premier League encounter ended 1-1.

It had been a difficult few days for Pickford after a late blunder in Sunday’s derby against Liverpool at Anfield proved costly.

Everton boss Silva said: “It is a normal situation for him, with his quality. I didn’t see anything different from the previous game at home. It is normal with his quality and he helped the team again. It’s nothing new.”

A draw was actually the least Everton deserved after a controlling most of the game. The Toffees had 76 per cent possession against a Newcastle side intent on defending and registered 19 shots.

Richarlison cancelled out Salomon Rondon’s early breakaway strike for the visitors but Everton ultimately paid the price for spurning two great chances in the first half.

Glyfi Sigurdsson and Cenk Tosun both looked certain to score only to be denied by a fine block by Federico Fernandez and great save by Martin Dubravka respectively.

Silva said: “Cenk had a fantastic chance. If he scores, the game would be different.

“But they came here with one thing in mind – to keep a strong defensive organisation with nine or 10 players behind the ball and they achieved what they wanted.

“First half we were better, second half not so well. The goal we conceded we reacted well to but in the second half we were more slow and a little bit more anxious. We didn’t create enough chances in the second half to change the result.”

Opposite number Rafael Benitez had complimentary words for his goalkeeper after Dubravka kept Everton at bay.

The Spaniard said: “It is always good to have a very good goalkeeper. He is doing a great job for us, a very good professional.”

Newcastle’s point inched them further away from the bottom three and came amid fresh rumours of a possible takeover at the club.

Benitez insisted off-field matters were of no concern to him and his players.

“It is business as usual,” he said. “I don’t see any difference for us.”

Benitez felt his side performed admirably and were perhaps unfortunate not to snatch victory.

He said: “I have to credit my players because the application, the way they were doing everything, was fantastic.

“We needed to work hard in defence because we knew they would have the ball. They have top-class players so to defend well for 95 minutes was not easy.

“It was a pity for us we had the chances and couldn’t win at the end.”

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