Everton only came alive after conceding on the road away at Southampton, but in the end did enough to pick up three much-needed points on Saturday afternoon thanks to well taken goals from Conor Coady and Dwight McNeil, both registering their first for the club.
Speaking after the game, manager Frank Lampard talked about the three goals that came in five second half minutes.
“Their goal came from a mistake from us. I thought we had control of the game in the first half and we just needed to do more, the extra 20 per cent to go and win the game, that’s what I felt.
“I don’t think either team were at their best but their goal kickstarted us – it was a quick reaction, a good reaction and we get our two goals. Then we have a period where we need to score again when we are on top and we didn’t but we dug in at the end.”
Everton’s goals came from a setpiece and a cross into the box, and with the Blues still struggling to create from open play, Lampard talked about the necessity of taking advantage.
“I’m really pleased – three points on the road in the Premier League is not easy, we all know that, so it was a good effort. Goals from set-pieces are so crucial – Amadou gets a good contact back across the goal and Conor connects really well. Then obviously Dwight’s goal was a fantastic finish from a tight angle.
“We showed great spirit – we’ve perhaps deserved more earlier in the season and didn’t get it, but today we dug in and got what we have deserved over time.
“The minute we rest is our downfall - it’s important we realise there is a long way for us to go. We can get much better than how we played today. There are glimpses, there were big glimpses against West Ham in our last game. There’s a nice competitive feel to the squad but we need to stay on it.”
The Blues seemed to lack that quality in front of the opponent’s goal, and not for the first time this season, something which Lampard alluded to later as well.
“I’m delighted with the win, and I think we deserved it. Southampton is a tough place to come. I thought we were in control first half, but we could have been more ruthless and we could have hurt them more efficiently.
“Then we give a goal away but, to be fair to the lads, they have been tight this season and haven’t conceded many. There is a great spirit in the group to defend our own goal. We’re improving and there is a lot of work to do to get much better.
“We showed good spirit and a good reaction to come back, and I think the win shows our progression. It’s not the end of the story, we need a lot more progression to get to where we want to get.
“It is a positive we have a stronger spine about us now and an idea of how we want to play. I’m delighted for the lads to get that feeling of two wins on the bounce. We’re getting better and we have better strength of character [than last season].
“We’ve had a couple of good draws on the road which showed some resilience and digging in – and now we come away and get a win. That will give a feeling of confidence to the group.”
Lampard had made three changes to the side with Jordan Pickford returning, Seamus Coleman stepping in for the injured Nathan Patterson, and Dwight McNeil starting for the ill Anthony Gordon.
“Jordan was very good. He gives us a sense of calm and he’s a quality goalkeeper – although, to be fair to Asmir Begovic, he did that in the last game against West Ham. It’s pleasure to manage a goalkeeper like Jordan who makes those saves, which keep you in games and helps you win games. His attitude is great.
“Anthony has not been well. He missed training on Thursday. He trained on Friday and didn’t look right. He tried to tell me he was right, but I knew he wasn’t! Anthony is playing well, but we had to protect him. You want energy from your wingers and we got that from Dwight and Demarai Gray.
“Amadou Onana also felt not so well during the game but, fair play to him, he fought it through.
“I’m delighted for Seamus to come back and play like that. Particularly in second half, Southampton crosses were being chipped in at the back post and he dealt with them with his experience and quality. He’ll be so much the better for having those 90 minutes.”
The manager also had a word of thanks to say to the traveling support who outdid themselves once again, making the long haul to the south coast despite the rail strikes that made things difficult to get there.
“They’re amazing, difficult conditions to come down here, train strikes. They’re incredible, what they do for us every week at Goodison, and then when they come to away grounds. It’s important that the players receive that.
“Its also important for the players to go over there after the game and create a bond with the fans. They’re appreciating what they are seeing on the pitch, it can get a lot better. Big thanks to the fans, the support is incredible.”