Kurt Zouma highlighted “focus, motivation and confidence” as the key factors which underpinned Everton’s comprehensive 2-0 victory at West Ham United on Saturday.
The Frenchman got the Blues off to a flying start at the London Stadium, heading home from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s inviting corner delivery on five minutes for his second Premier League goal of the season.
Marco Silva’s team never looked back thereafter and had carved out a host of chances before Bernard finished off a slick team move 12 minutes before half-time.
The Toffees continued to dominate, with centre-back Zouma part of a resolute backline that restricted West Ham to just one shot on target.
The win lifts Everton up to ninth in the Premier League table and they are now within a solitary point of Wolverhampton Wanderers in seventh place.
Manager Silva declared his pride with a performance he described as one of the best of his reign and Zouma believes the Blues’ dynamic showing indicates the heights this team can reach.
“We started the game on the right foot and we were focussed - very focussed,” the France international told evertontv.
“I was very happy to score the first goal and I think it was one of the best games of the season for us, with the ball and without the ball. We got a clean sheet as well.
“We had motivation. We kept the ball with real focus and we tried not to give chances to the opponents. It was a complete game.
“I think we showed to people, especially with the game against Chelsea [a 2-0 win on 17 March], that they can be scared of us and we need to keep going like that.”
Zouma’s strength, aerial prowess and composure in possession were all evident during his authoritative display at the London Stadium.
He also showcased his blistering pace – clocking a top speed of 21.3 mph against West Ham, which was not surpassed by any player on the pitch.
The four interceptions made by the 24-year-old, meanwhile, pointed to his intelligent positioning and defensive nous.
Zouma and Everton will go in search of a third Premier League victory on the spin when they take on Arsenal at Goodison Park on Sunday (2.05pm kick-off).
The defender emphasised the importance of the Blues’ maintaining their strong recent defensive record when Unai Emery’s Gunners visit L4.
The clean sheet against the Hammers represented Everton’s fourth in their past five Premier League games.
“It is very encouraging,” Zouma said. “We need to keep working hard, keep the same confidence and keep defending like we do.
“As a team, we feel good. After the game [against West Ham], everybody was singing in the dressing room.
“Everybody was happy. Next week is going to be another fight. We will be at home and hopefully the crowd will be behind us. We have to give 100 per cent to win it.”