Luke Ayling said Leeds were punished for conceding “two sloppy goals” in their 2-1 home defeat to Everton – and has named the Toffees star he felt made all the difference at Elland Road.
The Whites missed the chance to climb into the Premier League’s top 10 as Carlo Ancelotti’s side avenged November’s Goodison loss. First-half goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin earned the win and lifted Everton up to sixth.
Raphinha maintained his fine form by reducing the deficit early in the second period. But it was too much of a mountain for Leeds to climb as they slipped to a fifth home defeat of the season.
“The first goal he (Sigurdsson) was free in the six-yard box, which can’t happen. And for the second it’s my man from a corner and I got caught napping, so it was two sloppy goals.”
Leeds hit the woodwork twice through Ezgjan Alioski’s thumping first-half volley and Patrick Bamford’s looping header.
Ayling was appreciative of Leeds’ second half efforts. However, he knows they left themselves with too much to do.
“We came back into it in the second half. We had some great chances and could probably have nicked a draw. However, you can’t afford to go two goals down in this league,” Ayling said.
Olsen the difference for Everton
Leeds cranked up the pressure after Raphinha struck his fourth Premier League goal of the season in the 48th minute.
But Everton, dangerous on the counter-attack throughout, held on for a fourth straight league win on the road. That was, largely, thanks to some dogged defending and several crucial saves from stand-in goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
“Their goalkeeper made two great saves in 30 seconds, which could have changed the game, so it was just disappointing,” Ayling added.
Olsen, signed on loan from Roma in October, was deputising for Jordan Pickford. The England man injured his ribs in Saturday’s home defeat to Newcastle.
The Sweden international denied Mateusz Klich and Raphinha in quick succession. He then produced another crucial save moments later when keeping out Jack Harrison’s effort.