Everton moved out of the Premier League relegation zone with a stunning 5-1 win at Brighton on Monday.
Brighton are in the hunt to qualify for Europe for the first time in the club’s history, but a heavy schedule looked to have taken its toll on Roberto De Zerbi’s men as they were torn apart by an Everton side that had not won away since October.
The Toffees had the dream start as Abdoulaye Doucoure opened the scoring after just 34 seconds.
Doucoure’s brilliant volley from Dwight McNeil’s cross doubled Everton’s lead before Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele deflected McNeil’s cross into his own net.
De Zerbi responded by making four half-time substitutions and Brighton peppered the Everton goal but were caught out on the counter-attack when McNeil showed great poise to round Steele to make it 4-0.
Alexis Mac Allister finally pulled a goal back after Kaoru Mitoma’s initial effort came off the post.
But McNeil fittingly had the final say as he rounded off a brilliant performance in stoppage time by smashing into the top corner.
A first win in eight games lifts Sean Dyche’s men two points clear of the drop zone.
Brighton remain in seventh, two points behind Tottenham with two games in hand, but their outside shot at a top-four finish now appears gone.
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