Abdoulaye Doucoure is targeting a consistent scoring contribution after opening his Everton account with a towering headed goal against Fulham on Sunday.
Frenchman Doucoure’s first-half finish from Lucas Digne’s cross proved decisive at Craven Cottage, with Everton needing to repel a late home surge to win 3-2.
The victory in south-west London lifted Everton back into the Premier League’s top six after what Doucoure called a “difficult time” when Carlo Ancelotti’s side lost three straight games prior to November’s international break.
Everton swarmed all over Fulham in the opening half and Doucoure’s strike followed two for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to put his side 3-1 in front.
The 27-year-old, ever present in the top flight following his summer transfer from Watford, accepted Everton came off the gas after half-time.
But Doucoure confessed securing a positive result to reverse momentum in Everton’s season was the be-all and end-all on this occasion.
“It didn’t matter how we played, we needed to come back with three points after a difficult time," Doucoure told evertontv.
“To score three goals in an away game is a very good sign for the future.
“It felt good to score and it was very important for us. I worked hard in training to score my first goal.
“I was trying and trying and when you work hard, especially in this team, you get your rewards.
“I worked hard during the international break to come back to my best level.
“That goal will help me a lot and I can score more goals to help the team.
“That is why Everton brought me here.
“This goal and performance will help me a lot to settle even more at this club."
Everton began the Premier League season with four successive victories and were the last team in the division to suffer defeat when losing their sixth match, at Southampton.
That productive start, wedded to the success against Fulham, has Everton poised in sixth ahead of a rush of fixtures.
Leeds United visit Goodison Park on Saturday, then December brings six league games and a Carabao Cup quarter-final tie with Manchester United.
Doucoure insists Everton won’t go far wrong in that period by replicating large elements of this weekend’s first-half performance.
The priority, he claims – echoing the opinion of manager Ancelotti – is becoming more defensively secure.
Everton’s last clean sheet came when winning on the opening day at Tottenham Hotspur, who hold a four-point advantage over Ancleotti’s side at the Premier League summit.
“We are back to Goodison next week and need to keep going,” said Doucoure.
“We had a bad run, now we started winning again and want to have the same run as at the beginning of the season, to keep winning every game we can.
“Everyone needs the right mentality to defend and attack.
“We settled well together [as a unit after Doucoure joined Allan in a new-look Everton midfield this season].
“Now it is a matter of mentality and keeping in the same way. Everyone working hard and fighting for every ball and being more focused in the defensive way.
“We have conceded too many goals and have plenty of things to improve.”
Everton were pegged back by Fulham when Bobby Decordova-Reid’s neat finish cancelled out Calvert-Lewin’s 42-second opener.
The away side retained their early composure and thrust, however, sprinting two goals in front courtesy of Calvert-Lewin’s 10th league strike of the campaign and Doucoure’s powerful effort.
Everton needed to weather a late storm to claim maximum points nonetheless, Ruben Loftus-Cheek scoring with 20 minutes remaining.
“The first half was one of our best halves this season, we scored three goals and were solid and kept the ball and we need to take that into the next games,” added Doucoure.
“The second half was not good. We conceded and at the end we were in trouble. We didn’t play well and didn’t keep the ball as much as we could.
“But we are happy to have the three points and in the next week, we will work hard to win another game.
“Today there is good satisfaction but we know we are going to improve.”