Everton manager Marco Silva has again jumped to the defence of his Brazilian forward Richarlison after criticism that he goes down too easily.

The 22-year-old hit a late winner against Southampton at the weekend.

Last week he was denied a penalty against Tottenham as he was brought down by Davinson Sanchez, a decision that might have gone his way were it not for his apparent reputation.

Richarlison has been condemned for diving ever since Silva first brought him to England with Watford in 2017 and his integrity was again questioned after the incident in North London.

Speaking at his press conference on Thursday, Silva said: “It annoys me because it is not true and not fair to Richarlison. I don’t see anybody calling other players divers. Maybe because they played for different clubs and there is fear in saying what they think.”

The Blues boss added: “He is not a diver. He is a worker, a big, big talent. He has had zero yellow cards in two seasons and a half. Zero yellow cards for diving.”

Silva was under increasing pressure going into the match after a rocky start to the season, and they started superbly, with Tom Davies thumping home a far post header. They should have had more against a very poor Saints team, who are yet to shake off the the trauma of their 9-0 defeat to Leicester City. However, Saints found themselves level but they could not hold on and Richarlison snatched all three points for the Blues.

Marco Silva embraced the man who could well have saved his job after the goal.

He said: “I know we are important for Richarlison. He came to the Premier League when he was 20. A young boy who spoke no English. Everton made a big effort to sign him. He is doing well and our fans love him. It’s good to see him scoring and good to see him recognise that we are important for him as well.”

Image courtesy of Everton FC