Winning Habit Pleases Baines

by Adam Clark

Leighton Baines is encouraged Everton have developed a habit of winning games even when they're not at their dazzling best.

The Blues dug deep to record a 3-1 victory at Fulham on Sunday, though it took a David Stockdale own goal to break the deadlock and late strikes from substitutes Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas to finally see off the relegation-threatened Cottagers.

That win came after manager Roberto Martinez admitted his side had been efficient albeit under par in another 3-1 triumph against Swansea City at Goodison Park eight days earlier.

And while the two victories were split by a sparkling display in the 3-0 defeat of Newcastle United, Baines believes the ability to muster three points from difficult situations is now one of the Blues' greatest assets.

"Performance-wise, we weren't at our best but I think that shows what we're about - being able to stay in games, grind results out and win games," said Baines.

"It was tough. We knew Fulham would have stages in the game where they may get on top but we dug in, worked hard and in the end we came out on top."

Another knack that has proved a major boost to Everton's European qualification hopes is one of goalscoring substitutes.

The strikes of Naismith and Mirallas took the tally of goalscoring Toffees subs to nine for the season.

And Baines added: "The substitutions - Naisy coming on made a massive difference - they changed the game.

"All the subs had a hand in changing the game around - Kevin and Aiden as well. It made a big difference for us."

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