Marco Silva says Everton’s comprehensive 3-0 success at Cardiff City was just reward for a “commanding” performance.
Gylfi Sigurdsson scored twice and Dominic Calvert-Lewin struck in stoppage time to ensure Everton returned to action following a 17-day break in the best possible fashion.
The Blues’ win in South Wales lifted them up to ninth in the Premier League table and within four points of seventh-placed Watford.
“I am delighted with the result and again with the players’ attitude, which is something that has never changed,” said Silva.
“It is an important win and credit to our players. After we scored our second goal, our performance returned to the team’s normal level.
“You can prepare everything well but results are the most important thing in football and when you win, it boosts your confidence and the players can perform at their normal level.
“The clean sheet was important.
“We were in command for the whole match. We knew how strong Cardiff would be, with direct balls and set-pieces.
“We were focussed, with a good attitude and decided the match with good goals. We deserved the three points.”
Icelander Sigurdsson swept home four minutes before half-time following a counter down the right which ended with Seamus Coleman latching onto Morgan Schneiderlin’s lofted pass and cutting back for his teammate to score his 10th Premier League goal this term.
And Sigurdsson had his second of the night and 11th of the season when he thumped into the roof of the net after Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge could only palm a cross from substitute Bernard back into the danger zone.
Striker Calvert-Lewin finished expertly beyond Etheridge after being released by Idrissa Gana Gueye to wrap up Everton’s biggest away win of the campaign.
“Gylfi is an important player for us,” said Silva. “He is a different Gylfi Sigurdsson this season and he deserved those goals, they are important because in the next match you will see him more confident.
“He always gives everything, every day at Finch Farm and in the matches. And when he can score and assist it is important because it boosts his confidence.
“We have given him a different role this season and I saw him linking more with the two midfielders [Gana and Schneiderlin] which is something we want in his game.
“He scored two fantastic goals, which were really important for him and the team.”
Silva also reserved praise for Frenchman Schneiderlin, who started a Premier League match for the first time in 163 days, having most recently lined-up against West Ham United back on September 16.
And the manager admitted beating a Cardiff team which had won two of its three top-flight games in February represented a significant boost ahead of Sunday’s 233rd Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.
"We hope the win can be a turning point, we have missed consistency until now,” added Silva.
“I want to be more consistent, Some of our players performed better than in the past few games but it is just three points.
“Morgan gave me the right answer in the past 15 days. Tom [Davies] and Andre [Gomes] did well in the last game – but I am here to take the decision about the best XI for each match.
“I will always take the right decision for our team.
“Morgan never gives up. He has been doing well in the past month and showed me he deserved the chance to play.
“We are working to give our fans a good feeling again on Sunday. I know it is a special match for them and we hope we can give them a good result and good feeling.
“It was important we won this game to give us the confidence we need as a team. Sunday will be at home with our fans, we expect a fantastic atmosphere to push us to achieve the result we want.”