Soccer-Townsend and Gray give Everton cutting edge


Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v Burnley - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - September 13, 2021 Everton manager Rafael Benitez and Everton's Andros Townsend after the match Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

LIVERPOOL (Reuters) - Everton manager Rafa Benitez hailed new signings Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray as they both scored in a 3-1 victory against Burnley on Monday to maintain his side's impressive start to the new campaign.

The hosts, without the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin, were struggling and trailing 1-0 to Ben Mee's goal before three goals in six minutes turned the match on its head.

Winger Townsend, signed on a free transfer from Crystal Palace, produced a pinpoint cross to set up Michael Keane's headed equaliser and the former Crystal Palace winger then struck a sensational left-foot shot to put Everton ahead.

Gray completed the turnaround when he slotted home after latching on to a pass by Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Everton have now scored 10 goals in four games and are level on 10 points with leaders Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

"When we scored our goal, we had more confidence, played 4-3-3, created more chances and could have scored more goals," Benitez said. "Really pleased with the connection between the team and the fans. We are looking to build a fortress here.

"Both Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend have quality and are good pros. They are keen to learn, even Andros at his age. The main thing in this team, everyone said we needed wingers.

"Today Richarlison did a great job also and the two wingers helped the striker do better."

Former Leicester City winger Gray has now scored in each of his last three appearances since joining from Bayer Leverkusen and his price tag of 1.7 million pounds looks to be a bargain.

While it was a satisfying night in the end for Everton, Burnley's poor start continues and they have only one point from their opening games, sitting in 18th place.

"A poor reaction to us scoring. We let them creep into the game and then a mad six minutes follow. You have to make things happen," manager Sean Dyche said.

"I think it is a really good away performance until they score. My big feeling is we are way wiser than that six minutes. That is something we have to learn from."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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