Osman gives Jelavic Everton boost credit

PA Sport

Midfielder Leon Osman believes Nikica Jelavic has given Everton a fear factor from which the rest of the team are benefiting.

The Croatia striker scored twice in the 4-0 victory over Fulham at Goodison Park on Saturday to take his tally to 10 since arriving in January. Those have come from 10 starts and his recent run of nine goals in seven appearances have had a real impact on the club's late-season form.

"Jelavic has brought obvious qualities to the team and he is scoring goals, so we are delighted," said Osman, who made his 300th appearance for the club."We were all aware of what he could do when he was playing in Scotland. You could see he was an obvious goalscorer and when we heard we had signed him we were delighted."

But the by-product has been goals for the rest of the side as well as Everton scored four for the third successive match for the first time since 1964.

In their first 34 games they scored 34 goals but have added 12 in their last three, in no small part thanks to the efforts of the £5.5million January signing from Rangers.

Osman added: "It is good to have someone up there we know we can rely on and if there are chances made he will put the ball in. I think the opposition are a bit scared of him because they know he can score goals and they are on the watch for him.

"When that happens sometimes it releases space for other players in the team."

Jelavic's first came from the penalty spot, after Pavel Pogrebnyak had handled his free-kick, and after hitting the post Marouane Fellaini headed in the second.

The third was all down to Jelavic's brilliance as he raced onto a pass from the excellent Steven Pienaar, who had a hand in three goals, drew Mark Schwarzer out of his goal and then fired a shot through the goalkeeper's legs from a narrow angle.

After the break substitute Tim Cahill slid in the fourth after another good passing move and a sublime scooped pass over the defence by Pienaar.

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