Leighton Baines is relishing having the winning feeling back at Everton - but is “under no illusions” that the thrilling 3-2 victory over Watford must be used to kick-start the Blues’ season.
Left-back Baines netted a stoppage-time winner from the spot against the Hornets, completing a stunning comeback after Oumar Niasse and Dominic Calvert-Lewin pulled the Toffees level from 2-0 down.
The win saw David Unsworth’s side climb out of the bottom three and up to 15th in the Premier League table, just four points behind eighth place, heading into the international break.
“Obviously it has eased the pressure on everyone,” Baines told evertontv. “If we had come away from that game without a victory, it would certainly be a different feeling. It puts us under no illusions as to what has gone before and the situation that we are in, which is not good enough for this club.
“We need to enjoy the win, it’s been a long time coming and nice to have a couple of days with that feeling again.”
Baines’ 91st-minute penalty sparked jubilant celebrations amongst the players on the pitch, the staff in the dugout and Evertonians in the stands on a memorable evening at Goodison Park.
There was still time for a “heart-sinking” moment when referee Graham Scott awarded Watford a penalty even deeper into stoppage-time - but former Blue Tom Cleverley missed the chance to earn the visitors a point.
When asked what it meant to convert his spot-kick, Kirkby-born Baines added: “There was quite a lot of relief. It was obvious it was late in the game and one of the last chances we had to win the game, there was a bit of a wait to take the penalty where you have to keep yourself composed in that time.
“It was nice to see it go in, but my heart sank when we conceded the penalty at the other end but we finally got a bit of a luck and our effort probably deserved it.”
Baines’ penalty, drilled beyond Watford’s substitute goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis, was his 24th successful effort from 12 yards since joining the Toffees from Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2007.
It makes him the Club’s most successful penalty taker, one ahead of Unsworth and two-times title-winning winger Trevor Steven.
“I didn’t realise at the time I had set a new record at the time, it was pointed out to me shortly after, though,” added Baines. “It’s nice, it’s not the most important thing in the world but it’s nice.
“I always appreciate when a penalty hits the back of the net because it is a pressure-type situation so it’s always nice when they go in and, thankfully, this was an important one for us.”