Sean Dyche has showered praise on Everton goalkeeper Joao Virginia after the Toffees earned a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace to progress into the fourth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday night (17 January).
It was an eventful night for two Portuguese players. Andre Gomes struck a magnificent free-kick to seal the victory while Virginia made four excellent saves during the game.
The 24-year-old goalkeeper spread himself and blocked Jeffrey Schlupp’s close-range effort, and Dyche was very pleased with that performance.
“A fantastic save,” Dyche said, as quoted by The Times.
Virginia joined Everton in 2019 but he has spent time on loan elsewhere. At one point it felt like the Toffees would let him go, but now he can gradually cement his place in the side after such a strong performance.
Dyche said after the game that he was pleased with Virginia’s attitude in training.
“Very pleasing. I think he’s moved on a long way this season, even though you haven’t seen him. I think from how he trains, how he goes about it, his professionalism and his standing in the team as well. He’s listened intently in meetings and taken on how we want to work, watched it and absorbed it – and I think that’s paid him back,” he added.
Jordan Pickford remains an inspiration for other players at the club, but Sean Dyche may have found a reliable deputy in Virginia.
He is still relatively young and can make a lasting impact with the Toffees under Dyche. He must continue to work hard and wait for his chances.
Virginia also made a fine save at full stretch to deny Eberechi Eze’s arrowed strike from 25 yards out in the dying embers of the contest. The Toffees returned to winning ways after five games, and they will hope to get a crucial victory in the Premier League when they face Luton Town on Saturday at Goodison Park.
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