Everton player Alex Iwobi has explained how he planned to tackle Chelsea with manager Frank Lampard despite losing 1-0 in their Premier League opener on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Nigeria international was in the thick of things for the Toffees as they battled the Blues at Goodison Park but they ended up losing courtesy of a first-half penalty converted by Jorginho.
After the game, the Everton manager praised Iwobi for his display, specifically pointing out how he dictated the pace in the middle of the park alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Iwobi has revealed what transpired before the first fixture of the season.
“I had a meeting with the manager before the game who told me – especially when we are going on the attack – that I should look around and be aware of my surroundings," Iwobi told EvertonTV as quoted by the club's official website.
“It helped me going into the game and I felt like I did okay.“I felt quite comfortable in midfield. The defence was always talking to me and helping me, so I was always in the right positions at the right times.
“The gaffer is always talking to me, motivating me and telling me to go out and express myself, kick on from last season, and I feel like I’ve done that so far. But it’s a long season, it’s a marathon, and there’s a long way to go.”
Iwobi, who managed more completed passes during the game than any other Everton player (38), also discussed how the fans have always pushed and given him the freedom to express himself.
“The fans are always giving me that confidence that even if a pass doesn’t come off, they’ll clap and applaud the effort,” Iwobi continued.
“It’s something that’s helping me go into games that, even if I do miss, I’ll have the confidence to try something again.
“It worked out against Chelsea, I was able to make some forward passes and hopefully it leads to some assists in the next game.”
Iwobi insisted their display against Chelsea showed they are ready to compete with any team in the top-flight.
“I don’t think like we deserved this result," said Iwobi adding: “We defended really well, we were unfortunate with the penalty but, other than that, we defended as a team and created a couple of chances.
"On another day, those chances go in.
“It shows we can compete with one of the best teams in the Premier League. If we can compete against them, we can compete against anyone.”
Everton will next travel to face Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday.