Everton and Republic of Ireland defender Seamus Coleman said that his passionate celebration in his side’s 3-1 win over Brighton was not “having a go at fans” despite the defender coming under criticism over the last few weeks.
Coleman scored his first goal in almost two years in Everton’s victory over Brighton and celebrated passionately in front of the home fans cupping his hands over his ears.
The Irish captain admitted that despite knowing his performances in the blue of Everton have not been up to his usual standards, he was not hitting back at the home fans with his celebration.
“I’m the first to criticise myself and the last couple of games I’ve probably not been where I want to be,” he said.
“I’ve been out for four weeks and I didn’t do a lot of training and part of my game is my fitness but I felt much better, much fitter and I just wanted to prove a point.
“I am a person who is very capable of taking it on the chin and knowing when I am not good enough.
“I’ve been here nine years and had good spells of form and bad spells of form. Players can be very precious over criticism. It’s part and parcel of the game.
“As footballers we all get stick so it’s not like I’m having a go back at the fans, it’s just me saying ‘I’m all right’. When I am fit and at it I am OK.
“When I came back here in January (for his first game after recovering from his broken leg) and played against Leicester, the reception I got from Everton fans is something which will stay with me for a long time.
“The fans understand the love I have for them and vice-versa.”
The 30-year old had spent 10 months on the sidelines following a horrific leg break suffered against Wales but Coleman was keen to point out that the injury has not been playing on his mind.
“Never for a second. It does not give me a day’s bother,” he added.
“Unfortunately the injury I’ve had this season (stress fracture of a foot) has turned out to be very frustrating; coming back, pulling out, coming back.
“But there are no excuses, to play in the Premier League you have to be at the top level and if you are not you get found out.
“Unfortunately this season I’ve not been up to my own high standards and I’m the first to admit that.
“The other thing is because I’ve scored a goal it doesn’t mean I’m the best player in the world.”
Martin O’Neill and Ireland will be keen to get Coleman back to his best as they prepare to face Northern Ireland in an international friendly before heading to Aarhus to take on Denmark in their final UEFA Nations League game.