Royle foresees glory in Kanchelskis

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The Independent Online
Everton 2

Limpar 35, Amokachi 43

Southampton 0

Attendance: 33,668

HAVING finally laid hands on one particularly frustrating but key part of the puzzle, Joe Royle must now concentrate on piecing together the whole jigsaw. That piece, the pounds 5m summer - and almost autumn - signing, Andrei Kanchelskis, may still have a few rough edges following his extended lay-off as the transfer wrangle dragged on, but Royle is confident he will eventually slot in smoothly.

"I thought Andrei's fitness level was amazing as he hadn't played a pre- season game," the Everton manager said. "There is more to come from him and there is an awful lot more to come from us."

The expectant Goodison fans were robbed of the chance to see the blueprint in operation - the former Manchester United winger providing ammunition for Duncan Ferguson, who could face another operation on a troublesome groin injury. Royle said: "He has not been the Duncan that we know. He hasn't been rampaging at all."

However, Kanchelskis himself was not firing on all cylinders. Although his stinging shot remains functional, he obviously lacks the extra yard of pace needed to create room on the flanks and free up Everton's somewhat predictable midfield.

The Ukrainian's arrival may have contributed to a disjointed Everton display but if the home side were disjointed, Southampton were dislocated in the final third of the field. The departure of Ken Monkou early in the first half forced repeated reshuffles and the defence did not recover its composure.

Everton's problem was in the successful delivery of passes, as they constantly failed to release the likes of Anders Limpar and Daniel Amokachi into the spaces they crave. Their new colleague may often become a frustrated spectator if that service does not improve.

The battling spirit Everton showed last season remains a crucial element of their make-up, but two good goals flattered a stinker of a first half. Limpar played a crisp one-two with Paul Rideout to create vital space on the edge of the Southampton area for the first. His sweetly struck shot to Dave Beasant's right found the keeper pawing the drizzle.

The second Everton goal was a product of Amokachi's natural opportunism and athleticism. A hopeful clearance was missed by Richard Hall and as Francis Benali and Beasant pondered, Amokachi pounced, with a stunning leap and a looping header over the keeper and into the vacated goal. The effort did not go unappreciated by Royle, who said: "Daniel scored a terrific striker's goal, chasing down a percentage ball. If he finds consistency in his finishing there is still a place for Daniel."

Le Tissier, at his tetchy worst, had the two best chances for the visitors, a clear shooting opportunity saved by Neville Southall quickly followed by a weak header while finding a rare space in the penalty box.

Southampton's manager Dave Merrington was an admirer of Le Tissier's striking role in the absence of injured Neil Shipperley and said: "I thought we played with intelligence, but we lacked firepower up front."