An injury-hit Everton side did enough to beat Premier League bottom club Norwich City 2-0 at Goodison Park today, with Andros Townsend and Abdoulaye Doucoure getting the goals in the win. The result gives the Blues thirteen points after six games, including three straight wins in three home games which is the best start to the season at Goodison since the 1989-90 campaign.
When asked at the final whistle about matching that record, manager Rafa Benitez sounded surprised.
“I didn’t know that! So I am really pleased, really happy with that and hopefully we can carry on, that will be the main thing.
“Hopefully we can emulate what they did last year away from Goodison Park, and if we can continue winning games home and away it will be better!”
Was the pressure on his side to ensure a win today against the bottom side?
“It was a difficult game because these kinds of games are the ones everyone expects you to win. We started well, we had the control, for thirty minutes maybe we were there.
“They didn’t create too much and we were attacking without being really dangerous, just controlling the game. For the last fifteen minutes of the first half they started passing the ball so we had to adjust things in the second half.
“At one-nil they had the hope they could do something, so we adjusted tactically to be more aggressive in the middle and then we had the chance and scored the second goal.
“When you play against a team that plays good football, you have to make sure to be organized. We did it, and overall three points is the most important thing.”
How much are Everton being affected by injuries to the squad right now?
“We are missing two or three players that used to play in every game last year and used to score a lot of goals so then hopefully they will be with us soon and can make a difference again in helping the rest of the team.
“We are creating a good team spirit and hopefully with the players coming back, the big names that were scoring goals, the team will get stronger.”
Will next week’s trip to Manchester United be the gauge for how far his side have come?
“We will see. It is not easy now with these games and not too many players. The rest of the players have to work even harder and it’s good to see them scoring goals.
“They are working a little bit more and a little bit tired, but now we have some time. Now we have to relax and recover, but it’s important to bring those players back as soon as possible.”
Was Benitez expecting this start to the season from his side?
”Watching them in training, I expected we could do well, but in the Premier League you never know. I’m quite happy and I think that we will get better.”