Everton manager Sean Dyche has praised defender Michael Keane following last night’s 4-1 defeat to Newcastle United, insisting the 30-year-old ‘played very well’.

The £30m signing has been a regular at Everton since his arrival from Burnley in 2017 but fell out of favour under Frank Lampard’s time in the Goodison Park dugout.

However, the former England international has played every game since Sean Dyche’s January appointment, teaming up with the manager who coached him during his time at Turf Moor.

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Indeed, Dyche insisted in his post-match interview following last night’s defeat that the 30-year-old centre-back ‘played very well’, despite his defence conceding four goals.

Speaking via Everton’s official website following the game, Dyche reflected on Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s disallowed goal in the first half, stating: “Great bit of play. Michael Keane, who played very well, slides it into Dwight (McNeil) who gets turned and slides Dom (Calvert-Lewin) in. That’s the sort of play we want.”

Dyche comments simply flatter a poor performance from Keane and Everton XI

Indeed, DCL was very unlucky not to level the scoring as VAR ruled out his equaliser with the England forward a fraction offside.

Had Calvert-Lewin’s goal stood, Everton would have gone into half-time level, which could have easily changed the complexion of the second half.

Everton FC v Newcastle United - Premier League
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However, Newcastle were far the better team and were clinical in their finishing, a component of Everton’s game that has been absent all season.

Defensively, the Blues were given the run around and to suggest Michael Keane ‘played very well’ is quite ridiculous from the Everton boss, with no one from Everton’s backline walking off the pitch with much credibility.

Indeed, Keane was given a rating of just 3.66 out of 10 on BCC Sport’s review of the game, though he did score higher than defensive teammates Ben Godfrey (3.65) and Vitalii Mykolenko (3.54).

Perhaps Colombian international Yerry Mina, arguably Everton’s best centre-back, could return to the starting XI for the last five games of the season, provided the 28-year-old can stay fit.

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