Carlo Ancelotti insists Everton have plenty of room for improvement despite maintain their winning Premier League start with a convincing victory over West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – in a “fantastic moment”, according to his manager – struck a hat-trick and the sublime James Rodriguez scored his first Everton goal, with Michael Keane also on target, as Ancelotti’s side added to last week’s success at Tottenham Hotspur.
This victory wasn’t as straight forward as Everton’s three-goal winning margin suggests, however.
Grady Diangana’s whipped finish put West Brom ahead on 10 minutes. And despite losing Kieran Gibbs to a red card for shoving James in the face when Everton led 2-1, the away side drew level with a fine free-kick from Matheus Pereira shortly after half-time.
“I have seen more motivation and focus and ambition [compared to the back end of last season],” said Ancelotti.
“This moment is good but we have to pay attention. Every game can be difficult.
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HAT-TRICK HERO CALVERT-LEWIN ON 'MASSIVE' WIN
“This was a good test. Everyone is happy because it was a great result but if you look at the performance there are areas we can do better.
“West Brom were better than us in the first half but we had a good reaction after conceding the goal.
“With the extra man we had the advantage and the game was easier.
“We were more in control in the second half.
“We have creativity in front, we are really dangerous because we push with the full-backs.
“We have Andre Gomes and James between the lines.
“Richarlison is dangerous on the counter-attack and in the box and Dominic Calvert-Lewin is in a fantastic moment.
“We are really dangerous on set-pieces with Michael Keane and Yerry Mina.
“These are the reasons we create a lot of opportunities.”
Calvert-Lewin’s first Everton hat-trick would ordinarily have dominated conversation post-match.
Scorer of the decisive goal at Tottenham six days ago, the 23-year-old already has four for the season, at a rate of one every 40 minutes after being withdrawn with 20 minutes remaining against the Baggies.
Calvert-Lewin nevertheless shared top billing in this contest with James.
The Colombian marked his debut Goodison Park appearance with a wonderful 25-yard strike, skilfully squeezed between Sam Johnstone’s dive and the goalkeeper's left post, to give Everton a 2-1 advantage on 45 minutes.
James, signed this month from Real Madrid, where he played for Ancelotti, sent over the corner for Calvert-Lewin’s hat-trick goal, but not before a gorgeous chipped pass over West Brom’s backline for Richarlison to set up Calvert-Lewin’s second of the game.
“He makes football easy,” began Ancelotti, “he has started really well and I am happy with him.
“He still has a fantastic desire to play and loves to play with us.
“His goal was the key goal of the game.
“It was a fantastic goal and he made fantastic assists.
“He is comfortable with the team and his teammates.
“He is showing his qualities – the qualities I saw in Madrid and at Bayern Munich [where Ancelotti signed James for a second time].
“The quality of James makes it easy for him to play [in any league].
“His football is not is complicated.
"When he has space, he tries to use his quality on passes.
“When he has no space and he is under pressure he tries to play simple.
“This is what every player has to do.
“Use your quality when there is space.
“Play simple when there is no space.”
Everton topped the incipient Premier League table at the final whistle, the first time the Blues have reached the summit since starting with successive wins in 2007.
They go to League One Fleetwood Town on Wednesday targeting a Carabao Cup fourth-round berth and resume their league campaign three days later at Crystal Palace.
And Ancelotti wants his side to iron out the flaws which led to West Brom seizing the early initiative before Everton’s compelling response.
"In the first half we did not have balance… we were not able to control the transition,” added Ancelotti.
“That was why we conceded the first goal
“We had a great advantage with the red card but conceded a silly goal [West Brom’s 47th-minute equaliser] because we lost the ball in the first minute of the second half.
“Our combination up front was good.
“I am satisfied with our forward play but we have to be better at the back.”