Demarai Gray believes it is in Everton’s ‘DNA’ to fight and battle, opening up about what was going through his mind before his wonder goal against Manchester City.
After coming from behind to earn a point, the Blues snapped a four-game losing streak at the Etihad. Erling Haaland scored the reigning Premier League champions’ first goal of the season, turning home Riyad Mahrez’s first-half cross. Gray, on the other hand, scored a stunning equalizer 19 minutes after the break to ensure his team returned to Merseyside with a 1-1 tie.
Several flashbacks occurred during the 101-minute action.
The major one came midway through the first half, when Haaland was booked for a lunge on Vitaliy Mykolenko after being caught by Ben Godfrey. The prolific striker then left James Tarkowski on the floor shielding the ball with a flailing arm.
Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City, did not directly criticize referee Andy Madley after the game, but he did suggest that his players have grown accustomed to not being protected. When asked if Everton’s gameplan was to disrupt the hosts, Gray stated that no matter who they play, they should be ‘fighting and digging deep for results’.
“I don’t think it’s just when we play City; I think it’s part of our character and the club’s DNA to fight and dig deep for results,” he said. We omitted everything..
“On the back of our last performances, football-wise, it was a massive improvement today,” he said. Obviously, when you come to the Etihad, your game plan has to change a little bit, but we had a plan and stuck to it well.
“With the goal, we got our reward, and then we dug deep, so there are a lot of positives to take.”
Gray was then asked what the key to stopping City was, and he said: “Sticking to the game plan..
“You have to approach games differently, especially at the Etihad; at home, we can give anyone a challenge, but coming here is difficult, so sticking to the gameplan was critical.”.
The Blues needed a spark of inspiration after digging deep and refusing to crumble after falling behind, and Gray provided it with a sensational equalizer. It was Everton’s only goal-scoring opportunity.
Idrissa Gueye fed Gray down the left after Rodri played a loose pass. The winger initially slipped but quickly regained his footing, cut inside, and let fly with a curled finish that flew into the top corner of Ederson’s net.
The former Leicester City player waited for teammate Mykolenko to make the overlap before cutting inside and letting fly.
“You look up, and there are a lot of blue shirts, and you’re like…
“I’m not sure what I’m going to do here, but there are important moments in the game,” Gray revealed when asked what was on his mind.
We concentrated on the transitions and how we could harm them. I’m just always confident in the final third and trying to make a yard.
“Myko greatly aided me by making a run and freeing up some time for me… and I slipped, so… yeah, it worked out well for me, and I was pleased to see it land in the top corner.”