Francis Jeffers praised a team performance of “real togetherness” after Everton Under-23s’ 3-1 Premier League 2 victory over Manchester United at Southport on Monday night.
And the Blues coach saluted the hunger of role model Nathan Broadhead following the forward’s hat-trick, which helped lift David Unsworth’s side up to third in the table.
Broadhead put the hosts ahead of 26 minutes when he raced on to Rhys Hughes’ sublime first-time through ball and dinked a finish over United keeper Majej Kovar.
United levelled in first-half injury-time through Charlie McCann but Everton upped the tempo after the break and took the points with further goals from Wales youth international Broadhead on 57 and 65 minutes.
“Broady gets the plaudits with his hat-trick but the overall team performance, real togetherness, against a good United team, was what pleased me most,” said Jeffers.
“United caused us some problems but we dealt with them and we were always a threat.
“It was disappointing to concede the goal [in first-half injury-time] - United kept popping up in those pockets which we struggled to deal with at times – but the reaction was a real, real positive.
“Broady wants more and more. Three goals are enough but he misses one at the end and he’s disappointed, and that’s the way it should be. He’s a big positive, a senior member of the group and one the lads look up to.”
Everton’s victory saw them jump above United and Spurs into third in the table, with Unsworth’s side now having lost just once – to leaders Manchester City – in their past eight matches.
Jeffers was encouraged by the performances of midfielders Einar Iversen and Isaac Price. And with Tyler Onyango back in the side having been on the bench for the First Team in the 2-0 Merseyside derby win at Anfield on Saturday, Jeffers sees the constant shift in player personnel as a positive for a pathway into Carlo Ancelotti’s squad.
“It’s difficult having a settled side in Under-23s football but that’s the way it should be as it’s about giving players opportunities and them taking them, and us producing players and moving on to the First Team,” added the former Everton striker, who was part of the last Blues side to win at Anfield before Saturday.
“You see Tyler Onyango being around the First Team recently and coming back tonight alongside Isaac Price, who I thought was unbelievable, and that’s the way it should be.
“Einar’s been great. He’s always in the team, which couldn’t be said last season, but Unsy and the staff have real trust in him now and he’s come to the fore and is playing really well.”
Lifelong Evertonian Jeffers added: “It’s been great few days for the Football Club and we finished it off nicely!”