24th SEPTEMBER 2017
IT was a battle but Ronald Koeman and Wayne Rooney came out on top at Goodison yesterday.
And Everton boss Koeman even went as far as to say that misfit striker Oumar Niasse might have saved his job on Merseyside.
The Senegal international’s late double strike ended the Toffees’ run of four defeats in a row and lifted them out of the bottom three.
That was after Niasse came on for Rooney, as Dutchman Koeman tried to protect the ex-Manchester United man.
Rooney, making his 400th Premier League start, was flattened by Cherries skipper Simon Francis – and complained he had been on the receiving end of an elbow.
The clash left the Everton legend with an ugly gash above his left eye which was pouring with blood before a spell of treatment on the sidelines.
But he opened it up again in another clash early in the second half and Koeman took him off to save him from any further incidents.
The Goodison chief was not in the mood to underplay the importance of the 2-1 win against fellow strugglers Bournemouth and he said: “Everybody knew it was a must-win game and I’m really happy with what the players showed when we were one-nil down.
“If you win you are sure about your job, if you lose you are not so sure.
“Niasse is bringing more aggression. We needed in the second half to have another striker to press a bit better than we did before.
“All the credit to Niasse, that is all about life. If you get your chance you need to take it. He took it on Wednesday and again today.
“It is a totally different world after winning. You have key moments during the season and this was a big win that will give everyone a boost.”
Koeman also refused to call for further punishment for Cherries ace Francis – even though Rooney was livid about the penalty area clash. He added: “He was caught by Francis’ arm but it was not with intent even though his eye was totally open.
“We knew it would be difficult for the second half. It cost time in the first half but I had to change him. Hopefully he will be okay for the next game.”
Bournemouth chief Eddie
Howe said: “I haven’t seen it again but
Simon had his eyes on the ball and
there was no intent to injure the player although he did cut Wayne. “There were a lot of positives to take from the game. I thought we were the dominant team.
“It is frustrating from our perspective to come here and put that kind of performance in and not get anything.” Burnley
0 Huddersfield 0
2 Bournemouth 1
5 C Palace Southampton 0 Man United Stoke 0 Chelsea Swansea 1 Watford West Ham 2 Tottenham
WHACK! Rooney gets felled by Simon Francis ■
ARE ROO JOKING? Wayne Rooney was unhappy with the challenge