Ronald Koeman declared himself satisfied with Everton’s festive haul of seven points from a possible nine after the Blues beat Southampton 3-0 at Goodison Park.
Having defeated Leicester City and come back twice to draw at Hull City, goals from Enner Valencia, Leighton Baines and Romelu Lukaku helped kick off 2017 in fine style against the Saints.
For this particular match, Koeman revealed that he’d asked for more intensity at the interval in order to allow the Toffees to make a telling impact in the final third.
“I mentioned to the players at half time to play at a higher tempo and we did that much better in the second half,” he said.
“It is always difficult to create big chances, Southampton are a strong team, but we made the difference in the final part of the game.
“The result is very good and we got a clean sheet. We had good organisation about our defending and were defensively strong, and we know we can score goals. The final 30 minutes was very good.
“It is always nice to have a strong result at home and a clean sheet. It boosts confidence. It was a tough period over Christmas but seven points from nine is really good.”
Koeman made four changes to the side the earned a point in the previous outing at Hull but it was the impact of substitute Valencia that made the breakthrough.
The Blues boss welcomed the competition for places in his squad, made all the more fierce by the recent emergence of Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
“Enner was really important when he came on, and that was also the reason to start Dominic,” added Koeman. “We needed someone behind Romelu with more pace and to give Ross a little more freedom down the side.
“We started well and I thought Dominic did well in the first 10 minutes and after he went off we missed his pace. We are all disappointed for him to have to come off.
“After 60 minutes, the team needed the kind of player Enner is to bring on. He has been really good and we know we have that competition for places in the squad, which is good to have.”