Everton overcame a poor first half an hour or so to eventually dispose of AFC Bournemouth 2-0, making it their first win at Goodison Park in five Premier League games. It took a header from Kurt Zouma at the hour mark to break the deadlock and then the Blues had to withstand some sustained pressure from the visiting Cherries late in the game before Dominic Calvert-Lewin sealed the result in time added on.
Speaking after the game, manager Marco Silva praised his charges for bouncing back after a flat start to the the game where they were very lucky not to find themselves behind.
“We didn’t start well, how we expected, we know how and why in this moment, but of course it was important after the first 25 to 30 minutes to start playing our way.
“We finished the first half better and started the second half well, creating chances from the first moment. When we scored for 1-0, it was fair because in that moment we were the best team on the pitch.
“They reacted like you would expect, changing some players on the pitch, putting some strong strikers on the pitch with strong wingers, but we were solid in that moment; not so comfortable because we have to keep the ball and start to create the chance to score the second goal, like we did already in some games.
”But it was a moment to show the opposition we are strong and we did that.
”We deserved the three points. All of us wanted something different in the last minutes, we wanted to keep more of the ball, to try to score the second goal but in every moment they were winning set pieces or corners or free-kicks and in some moments there were simple mistakes.
”But we did well, we were solid in that moment and credit to our players.”
The manager did go on to add that he was pleased by the effort in the face of adversity - though to be quite honest it wasn’t really visible until the second half, no doubt the result of a scathing halftime team talk by the manager.
“I was pleased with the result but more the character and personality the team showed this afternoon. It was a tough match, which we expected, and it is like an obligation for us to win again at home… not just because of the three points but after our last four matches at home.
“It was something we had to do and we did, by showing strong character and strong personality on the pitch.
“It was really, really important to keep a clean sheet – of course I’m not so happy with the amount of set pieces Bournemouth won in the last 10 minutes. But when you can win 2-0 at home in a tough match and achieve a clean sheet, it is really important for us and can boost the confidence we need.”
Ademola Lookman probably had the most complete game of his Everton career, and was the Blues’ most consistent player on the afternoon and proved to be a terror for the Bournemouth side with his crafty skills and mazy runs.
“It was a fantastic performance and we know he is at that level, but he will improve more and more. It was tough to put his mind in the right way and I have been working hard with him, but I have no doubts he will create big things in his career.”
Silva has been under pressure lately with the Blues’ slump, and comments earlier this week from majority shareowner Farhad Moshiri seemed to indicate that he needed to do better.
“Criticism and pressure is something normal for me as a coach. I started at 34 and it is not important. I want good results and I know why I came here to Everton, and I know our project. I am the first person to criticise myself but I am also realistic.”