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Koeman praises Pickford's stellar Everton start

104   //    13 Aug 2017, 00:14 IST
Jordan Pickford - cropped
Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Everton boss Ronald Koeman heaped praise on new signing Jordan Pickford after the goalkeeper played a key part in Saturday's season-opening win over Stoke City.

Wayne Rooney scored the only goal as the Toffees overcame a sluggish start to register a hard-earned 1-0 win at Goodison Park.

The result would have been different had Pickford not produced a stunning stoppage-time save to deny Xherdan Shaqiri, leaping to his left to push the Swiss star's goal-bound drive around the post.

Pickford's save preserved a clean sheet on his first Premier League appearance for Everton, a feat the 23-year-old also achieved on competitive debut in the Europa League.

"We know we brought in a really good goalkeeper," Koeman told Sky Sports.

"He dominated his area today, he's still young, and he had a great save on that [Shaqiri] shot. That's really important."

Despite the victory, Koeman admitted his new-look side was affected by nerves against a determined Stoke.

The visitors created the better of the first-half openings before Rooney's goal swung the momentum firmly into Everton's favour.

"It wasn't a good performance from our side," the Dutchman said.

"But it's the first [game] that has maybe brought nerves to the team and maybe some of the new signings.

"If you know that and you keep a clean sheet, you keep the three points at home, it's a perfect result."

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