Belfast Telegraph

Sylvain Distin happy for Everton to get physical with West Ham

Everton 2 West Ham 1

By Carl Markham

Everton defender Sylvain Distin insists there is nothing wrong with an old-fashioned physical game of football - providing the result goes in your favour.

The centre-back enjoyed the rough and tumble of taking on bruising strikers Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole but what pleased him more was the 2-1 victory in an often fractious encounter at Goodison Park.

For all the football Roberto Martinez's team plays, Distin stressed there were times when you just have to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in and that is what exactly they did against the high-flying Hammers who were on a five-match unbeaten run which had taken them into the top four before the weekend.

"We knew what to expect from them. It was an old-fashioned game, the sort of game I used to play week in, week out when I started in the Premier League," said the Frenchman.

"Now the football has changed completely so you don't have too many types of game like this but I like it.

"It is a physical challenge and we stood up and when it started to be a bit tough and rough we kept strong and it is really good to see that side of the team.

"It was a tough one but that is what you expect when you play against West Ham and they didn't disappoint us.

"You have to fight until the last minute. That is what you have to do if you want three points."

Midfielder James McCarthy showed no signs of the hamstring injury which prompted Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane to question Everton's handling of their players in the run up to international duty when he clattered into Morgan Amalfitano sparking full-on confrontations all over the pitch.

It was not the only robust challenge in a match which, as Distin rightly pointed out, was not without physical duels or incident throughout.

The one which annoyed manager Sam Allardyce and his players the most was for Everton's opening goal which saw Ross Barkley's shot deflect off Winston Reid into the path of Romelu Lukaku who was offside from the moment the ball was struck.

However, with no hint of an assistant's flag the Belgium international clinically rammed home his 21st goal in 50 appearances for the Toffees.

"He is offside, there is no doubt about it," said West Ham captain Kevin Nolan, who as a result of a growing injury list made his first start since the opening day of the season.

Everton have not been entirely comfortable holding on to a lead this season and so it proved four minutes after Mauro Zarate came off the bench in the second half when the Argentinian's strike ballooned up off Phil Jagielka to leave Tim Howard helpless.

But the home side rallied and from a swift counter-attack Leon Osman converted substitute Samuel Eto'o's cross to cap a perfect end to his 400th appearance for the club.

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