Rafa Benitez insists Everton will progressively grow stronger after a controlled display founded on “organisation and aggression” proved too much for Norwich City to handle at Goodison Park.
Andros Townsend scored his fourth goal of the season to put Everton in front on 29 minutes and a crisp finish from Abdoulaye Doucoure with 13 minutes remaining settled the outcome.
Everton climb one position to fifth in the Premier League table and are level pegging on 13 points with Manchester City in second.
The win over Norwich, achieved in the absence of the striking pair of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, owed plenty to the contributions of summer acquisitions Townsend and Demarai Gray.
Townsend converted from the spot and the effervescent Gray rolled in Doucoure for Everton’s second.
“When you play against a team that plays good football, you have to be sure you are organised and aggressive enough – we were and got three points and that is the most important thing,” said Benitez.
“All the team is working really hard and doing well.
“These players [Townsend and Gray] know how we want to play, so it is easier [to bed them in].
“They cannot do everything without the others on the pitch and the ones we are missing.
“We are creating a good team spirit and, hopefully, with the players coming back, the big names scoring goals, the team will be stronger.
“These kinds of games are difficult because everybody is expecting you to win.
“We started well and had control for 30 minutes… Norwich didn’t create too much and we were attacking but without being very dangerous.
“The last 15 minutes of the first half, they started passing the ball, so we had to adjust in the second half.
“At 1-0, they had the hope they could do something.
“We were working very hard and adjusted a bit tactically to be more aggressive in the middle.
“We scored the second goal, then had two or three situations that could have been better.”
Benitez is the first Everton manager since Colin Harvey in 1989 to oversee three straight home victories from the start of a league season.
The third win in that sequence was more straightforward than games against Southampton and Burnley when Everton overturned deficits to claim the three points.
That Everton matched a feat last achieved 32 years ago was news to Benitez – “I didn’t know that,” he confessed – but the manager was keen to direct his gaze forwards.
Specifically, Benitez wants the profitable home form to endure after Everton’s European aspirations came unstuck following a run of poor results at Goodison last term.
“I am really happy [with three straight wins] but, hopefully we can carry on, that is the main thing,” said Benitez.
“And, hopefully, we can emulate what they did last season away from Goodison [11 wins].
“If we can win games at home and away, it will be better.”
The next opportunity to add to this term’s one away success at Brighton & Hove Albion – Everton have additionally drawn one and lost one – comes at Manchester United next Saturday.
Benitez will go to Old Trafford still missing Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison but accompanied by the confidence sourced from a fourth win from six Premier League games this season.
“It is not easy with these games and not too many players, we are missing two or three who played every game last year and scored a lot of goals,” said Benitez.
“Hopefully, they can be with us soon and make the difference helping the rest of the team.
“The others are working a bit more, so are a little bit tired but, hopefully, they have time to recover and we can have a good game [at United] and get a good result.”