Alan Irvine took charge of Everton's 1-0 victory over
Rochdale on Tuesday night and was pleased with his side's
With David Moyes' decision to split the first-team squad in
two, Irvine was left with a squad that included the likes of Tony
Hibbert, David Weir, Tobias Linderoth and Kevin Campbell.
Rochdale made Everton work hard for the win and the likeable
Scot believes that will benefit the Blues when the new season kicks
"It was a good work-out for the lads," he told
"Most of them have played a full game and they had a lot of
touches of the ball, which was very pleasing and important as we
prepare for August.
"Rochdale started very, very well. The controlled the ball
well, they were very imaginative on the edge of our box and we had
to defend well at times, but after the first fifteen minutes we
started to take control of the game and probably controlled it from
Tomasz Radzinski's 61st minute goal was the difference
between the two sides and Irvine believes that the Canadian
international will never score an easier goal in his career.
A defensive mix-up between Rochdale's Chris Beech and
'keeper Matthew Gilks, allowed Radzinski to convert the
simplest of opportunities.
"It wasn't a classic, but it just shows that it's
worth the gamble when you close goalkeepers down," he
"If you force them in to a mistake sometimes, you're
gifted a simple goal and credit to Tomasz, he chased what many
people would have thought was a lost cause, he put the goalkeeper
under pressure and reaped the reward."
There was also an appearance from Alex Nyarko on English soil,
for the first time since the infamous Highbury incident of 2001,
but Irvine decided to reserve praise for another Everton
"Watto worked extremely hard tonight," said
"When he makes those runs in between centre halves and full
backs, he's a real threat, because he has got an eye for goal.
"He's got good timing in terms of arriving in those
areas, he got pulled down for the penalty and got in good positions
a couple of times during the game. He was probably unlucky not to
"But there wasn't anyone that you could say didn't
do very well tonight, it was a good performance, very
well-controlled and a patient display.