Bruce hails Wilson’s ‘goalscorer’s instinct’ as double strike sees off Everton
There was vindication for Carlo Ancelotti’s decision to drop goalkeeper Jordan Pickford but no points as Newcastle secured an impressive win thanks to two goals from Callum Wilson.
It may seem strange to anyone outside of the North East of England, but there has been a ridiculous amount of criticism fired at a Newcastle team who have now lost only two out of 10 games this season. It is, statistically speaking, their best start since 2011 when they went on to finish fifth under Alan Pardew.
Even if results have been good, though, there have been fierce and persistent complaints about the quality of their performances, the dreary style of football and accusations the team have not shown any sign of progressing in the 15 months Steve Bruce has been in charge.
In that respect, this was an important win and Bruce continues to find a way to grind out victories whenever he starts to feel any pressure. And there was evidence of improvement too, as Newcastle were far more dangerous on the counter and should have taken the lead before Wilson scored his first from the spot just before the hour.
His second was a tap-in and the England international already has six goals following his arrival from Bournemouth for £21 million in the summer and gives Newcastle the sort of goal threat they lacked in Bruce’s first year.
“It is his third goal inside the six-yard box that shows what he is all about,” Bruce said. “He has a goalscorer’s instinct and that’s what we lacked. He was upset when I took him off with five minutes to go because he wanted a third. He’s already matched our top goalscorer from last season and that’s what I said to the chief exec in the summer, we need someone we know can score goals in the Premier League.”
As for Everton, after flying through the first few weeks of the campaign and to the top of the table, they are reverting to type. A goal from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and some late pressure aside, they were contained far too easily by their hosts who are now just two points below them.
At least Ancelotti got it right with the change in goalkeeper, Robin Olsen making two impressive saves to keep Everton interested. It is the first time Pickford has not started a Premier League game since he joined from Sunderland in 2017 but Ancelotti insisted it will only be a temporary spell on the bench.
“The performance of Olsen was good,” Ancelotti said. “He has experience and was in good control all game. The reaction of Jordan was a player who understood – I explained I wanted to give Robin an opportunity and he will be back the next game against (Manchester) United.
“Why is it complicated (for you to understand)? I am used to rotating ‘keepers. It happened in Real Madrid and Napoli.”
Everton, though, were poor. Newcastle soaked up everything easily and took a deserved lead when Andre Gomes forgot where Wilson was as he went to clear a loose ball and kicked the Newcastle striker as he nipped in front of him. Wilson had to wait a long time while VAR checked the penalty decision was correct, but still sent Olsen the wrong way.
After that, Newcastle suffocated Everton and then struck the killer blow, Jamal Lewis finding substitute Ryan Fraser, who had timed his run perfectly. His touch too was quality, taking the ball across Yerry Mina. The centre-back was on a yellow card and could not bring him down, allowing the Scotland international to cross for Wilson to stab home.