Happy Ronald Koeman said Wednesday’s 3-0 Carabao Cup victory over Sunderland was the “best medicine” to get confidence flowing through his Everton squad again.
The Blues went into the third round fixture at Goodison Park on the back of four straight defeats in all competitions but returned to winning ways courtesy of Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s classy double and substitute Oumar Niasse’s first goal for the Club.
A trip to Chelsea in round four is Everton’s reward for overcoming the Black Cats but Koeman is now focused only on Saturday’s Premier League visit of Bournemouth.
“Everybody knows we are in a difficult moment and scoring goals and winning games is the best medicine to get our full confidence back,” said the Toffees boss. “Let’s hope the result tonight and the way that we played gives us a boost for Saturday.
“It’s normal at 2-0 with 20 minutes to go that you play with full confidence but when you start the game or when it’s a difficult game then still you need to show that.
“We scored three goals and maybe we had some other good chances to score even more. We fought for a good result and I’m happy about the performance.
“Of course you look at the individual performances of the players but first is the team, and I think everybody worked hard and the final result was good. The second half was better, we played at a higher tempo and we created more chances than in the first half.
“Overall, it was positive, everybody tried to impress and to play and now we will pick the best team to play on Saturday.”
Calvert-Lewin opened the scoring seven minutes before the break with a calm right-foot finish, before ramming in a shot with his left shortly after the restart.
He was denied a perfect hat-trick when his header came off a post prior to being replaced by Niasse but the 20-year-old still earned the praise of his manager.
Asked if the England Under-21 international had played his way into his starting XI for Saturday, Koeman said: “He’s always in my mind. He’s still a young player, 20, and sometimes you need to protect him.
“But he’s a good player and [in the future] he will be stronger, he will be faster, he will be better. He scored a great first goal, because that’s a really important goal, and the second was a good finish as well and killed the game at that time.
“He’s working, he’s doing well and he’s a good boy, but we have other players in that position as well.”
One such player is Niasse, who made his first appearance for the Blues since May 2016 and pleased Koeman with the way he grasped his opportunity to impress.
The Senegal international capped a lively cameo by taking down Tom Davies’ lobbed pass on his chest and thumping home to complete the scoring seven minutes from time.
“It was a great goal,” said Koeman. “His first touch on his chest and his finish with his right foot was great. It was a perfect goal.
“Everybody knows it was a difficult situation for him and it’s all about taking your chance when you get an opportunity and he showed tonight that he’s part of the team. Finally, you pick the player up and you put the players in the team who deserve it and who give that confidence to the team maybe in a difficult time or difficult moment.
“Maybe he doesn’t feel that pressure and that makes him even more dangerous for opponents.”
Everton now play a further three home fixtures in the next 10 days before the October international break and Koeman added: “Let’s hope tonight we start to win at home. We have three games to go and if we win them all the whole situation will be different and I will go into the international break with a smile on my face.”