Alan Stubbs praised the contribution of striker Apostolos Vellios after the striker netted a first-half hat-trick in the reserves’ 4-2 win over Blackburn on Monday night.
The Greek forward scored three clinical goals – his second a penalty that he won himself – and even had one disallowed as he helped his side build a 3-1 half-time lead.
But it wasn’t just his goals that impressed Stubbs.
“He did really well for the team,” the reserve team boss explained to evertonfc.com “As aside from the goals – which are obviously good for any striker – he held the ball up well so we could link off of him, he tracked back and won interceptions and on the whole did a very good job for us.”
Everton’s fourth goal was scored in spectacular fashion by the influential Jose Baxter, who shone on his first game back at the Club since a loan spell at Tranmere.
Baxter lashed home via a post late in the game to cap an encouraging display – and Stubbs says the benefit of his spell at Prenton Park was abundantly clear.
“I think it has done him the world of good,” he added. “He was calm on the ball and settled things down for us and we needed him to do that. He also scored a fantastic goal near the end as well.
“Overall it was a good performance – even if we did concede a couple of goals – and I was happy with what I saw.”
For the Blues second string it was a first outing since thrashing Newcastle 4-0 last November and Stubbs admitted it was good to get going again.
And what was a convincing win was even better considering the back four was made up exclusively of faces more familiar to the Blues Under-18s’ side.
“Some of the lads had the FA Youth Cup but that aside we haven’t had much football,” Stubbs added. “We have had a few games moved or cancelled and it has been a little frustrating for them. Also with the situation with the first team we have been a little stretched for numbers, but it was a good night and overall they did well.
“We had a really young backline but a bit more experience in attack and it worked out that way. We were really good going forward at times and that probably helped the young boys at the back a bit.
“We started well and got an early goal which is always good for settling everyone down and in the end we had enough going forward to win the game comfortably.”
Everton: Hahnemann, Browning, Touray, Forshaw, Dier, Hammar, Gueye (Long, 90), Baxter, Vellios (Lundstram, 81), McAleny (Hope, 79), McFadden. Subs not used: Thomas, Davies.