Everton close in on top four
|Mirallas (39'), Schneiderlin (45'), R Lukaku (82')|
Everton closed to within five points of the top-four with a convincing defeat of a lacklustre West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park.
Goals shortly before halftime from Kevin Mirallas and Morgan Schneiderlin – his first for the club – put Everton in control and West Brom’s response was negligible.
Romelu Lukaku headed Everton’s third late on to take his league tally for the season to 19, level with Harry Kane at the top of the Premier League scoring charts.
Everton, whose only defeat in 10 league games was last week’s 3-2 reverse at Tottenham Hotspur, remain in seventh spot with 47 points from 28 games. Fourth-placed Liverpool, who host Burnley on Sunday, have 52. “Our target is to play next season in Europe. We know maybe seventh position will bring it,” Everton manager Ronald Koeman said. “It was an outstanding team performance. “In the second half, we controlled it. Our defensive organisation from set plays was outstanding.”
Mirallas struck in the 39th minute when he was on hand to fire home a rebound after Ross Barkley’s shot was saved.
Frenchman stroked in Everton’s second just before halftime after a fine pass by Lukaku.
The visitors hardly threatened the Everton goal and the hosts scored again near the end when Lukaku headed in Barkley’s cross. West Brom remain eighth, seven points behind Everton.
West Brom manager Pulis said his side had matched their opponents before falling behind. “Conceding the two goals before halftime killed us. Before that we were in the game,” he said. “Our players have worked really hard. You’d think it was a stroll in the park if you hadn’t watched the game, but it was anything but. Everton are the best team outside the top six. They’ve got real quality.”