Paul Tait has praised the professionalism shown by his Everton Under-21s side as they dispatched Colchester United in style with a commanding 7-2 victory.
The young Blues wasted no time in the Premier League Cup clash at Haig Avenue, with in-form Tom Cannon putting the home side ahead inside one minute.
Katia Kouyate’s brace along with a strike from Mackenzie Hunt put Everton 4-0 ahead before half-time. Cannon and Kouyate grabbed another goal apiece in the second half while Isaac Price got in on the act in the dying minutes of the match.
The visitors did find the back of the net twice themselves in the second period, but that did little to overshadow a fine showing from the young Toffees.
“The lads were very professional, applied themselves really well and there was some really good performances,” Tait told evertonfc.com after the win.
“To score seven goals is brilliant. We started well, and scored after 48 seconds, so it was a great start. We then kept creating chances and got the goals, even though I thought they had quite a bit of possession in the first half."
Tait admitted that one of the most pleasing aspects of the evening was how his side maintained high standards throughout, despite racing into a dominant lead by the end of the first half.
“We talk about application all the time with them, they come up with the answers when we ask them questions.”
He continued: “They don’t want to let their own standards slip, as one of the lads said [at the break]. so it was an exercise in that from half-time onwards.
“I actually thought our football got better in the second half.
“In terms of possession, we wanted to play through the middle of the park, pinch a bit better, we didn’t do that in the first half, but I thought we did in the second.”
The boss attributed some of those improvements in Everton’s possession play to the introduction of Luke Butterfield who returned to competitive action after a three-month layoff through injury.
“Luke Butterfield came back, it was great to see him out there, he’s been out for over three months," added Tait.
“He gives you control in the middle of the pitch because he’s an excellent footballer.
“So, to have him and Isaac alongside each other, I thought we controlled the game better in the second half.”
Tait also wanted to recognise the hard work and standout performance of forward Kouyate who netted his first goals of the season for the Under-21s.
“He did well last week, like I said before the game against Birmingham," added the boss.
"He’s been good in training, he’s been knocking on the door, so he’s got his opportunity tonight and he’s taken it.
“I am pleased for him. The challenge for him now is he’s got to keep that form going and stay fit.”