Everton scraped to a 1-0 win that flattered their visitors Stoke City after the Blues had more than the bulk of the shots taken and chances created.
After the game, here was manager Ronald Koeman’s assessment of the first three weeks -
“It’s always important to win because winning games gives players confidence, spirit and belief. But, as a manager, you need to look to other things – how we play, how we press our opponents, the productivity in 18 shots, nine on target and we had to kill the game in the second half.
“It was difficult, but really positive to keep a clean sheet. We defended very well – Stoke did not have a shot on target, maybe only two or three difficult situations in the box.
“Overall, it’s a good start to the season but there’s a lot to improve.”
Veterans Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams formed the back pairing for the first time, and the defensive solidity was acknowledged by the manager -
“The defensive organisation in the team is good. To concede just two goals in three matches is good and that’s the way to build.
"There are a lot of things offensively that we can do better, but that’s normal with new players. The fitness of the team is growing. We’re still not on the level, but to get seven points out of nine is a good start.
“The [result and start] is for everybody; for the fans, of course. It’s important for the fans to believe the spirit and we had great support again today.
"We like to fight for high positions in the table and the start of the season is good, but if we want to keep that position, we need to improve and play better.”
When asked about the quickly-approaching transfer window deadline, Koeman said -
"Yes we are still working on that and if we don't sign any player before Wednesday then I will be a little bit disappointed.
"It's difficult with the numbers of money teams are paying for players and with the Euros everybody was starting late.
"If you look at all the teams in the Premier League everybody needs maybe one or two or more players.
"That is a big example that maybe the most busy time will come in the last few days of this window."
Koeman also spoke of the contentious penalty decision that led to Everton’s winner -
"I can understand why maybe Mark Hughes will be angry because if every referee gives a penalty for these kinds of situations then you can accept it but one referee says yes and another says no. That makes it very difficult."