They finally did it, at the sixth time of asking. After picking up three identical home defeats all going 1-0 to the away side, Everton finally registered their first victory of the season, coming back with all three points and a renewed sense of confidence from West London.
The 3-1 win over Brentford came via an early goal from Abdoulaye Doucoure barely half a dozen minutes into the game, and then a quickfire brace of goals for James Tarkowski and substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the second half after the hosts had equalized in the first stanza.
Speaking after the game, manager Sean Dyche talked about the conversations he had with the players off the training pitch and how they seemed to have taken his words to heart on this trip to the Gtech Stadium.
“We did a bit of work in the week with them, not just training work but a good chat with them. A few things came out and it just had that feeling of ‘the Everton story’… you sort of start going along with it.
“I said it is us that changes the story, so that is it. End of. No excuses. You are all rounded enough, you have all been in the Premier League, you all know how it works. I said: ‘Lads, it is us that changes the story. Let’s have it right.’ That was one thing. And another was that idea of finding professional enjoyment.
“It is tough, the confusion of playing well and not getting results. We have had lots [of tough moments] before this - I said look at all the tough times you have had in the last couple of years, including the end of last season. That is where you grow. You should have the on-pitch maturity from them experiences to go and play under pressure.
“I thought that was on show against Brentford, that way of playing under pressure, doing all the right things… so it is pleasing for me that they reinforced that with their own performance and got their own reward.
“Sometimes, you can coach all you want, at the end of the day this was a group of people giving everything to the cause and with some quality - because I thought there was some really good quality with the performance.”
While the immediate pressure is off the gaffer’s shoulders, Dyche admitted that the Bees drawing level a minute after Doucoure had sliced his volley against the bar with a chance to make it 2-0 seemed horribly familiar.
“I thought this was a performance like the Fulham performance, like the Wolves performance, like Sheffield United. The signs have been there but you have got to change the storyline. You have got to score goals. You have got to take your chances.
“The biggest thing I was pleased about was the fact that first was that weird, same old story - we created four or five chances and we come in at 1-1, which was a bit of a head scratcher but I have had that this season. Then to be so calm and deliver a second half again… I thought that was very pleasing. We kept playing, we kept working, we kept defending right, and we kept creating chances.”
James Garner replaced Arnaut Danjuma in the starting lineup, and it was from his ball into the box that Tarkowski headed down for Doucoure to score the opener from, before adding an assist for the Blues third, with Calvert-Lewin nutmegging the keeper. The England youth international came in for particular praise from the boss as did the veteran midfielder who was named Player of the Match.
“I’m really pleased for Jimmy. He works ever so hard. We ask a lot of him.
“When I left him out [in recent weeks] I’d told him he’s one of our future players like Patto [Nathan Patterson] but they have to go in and out of the team as part of their learning. He’s got a lovely honesty about him, he’s a very good player, and he’s very adaptable as we’ve seen.
“There were a lot of good performances. I thought Doucs was excellent. He set the scene very early on with his pressing and work ethic for the team.
“The delivery was very good, as they were generally today from set pieces. That’s a key factor, to put it in the right areas with quality because we know we’ve got people who can go into the box with that belief of scoring. I’m pleased we did that today.”