Assistant Manager Ian Woan spoke exclusively to evertontv following Everton's 1-0 pre-season win at Wigan Athletic, discussing the influence of new signing Ashley Young in the changing room, developing a winning mentality, where the Blues are up to in terms of fitness and the plan between now and the next friendly early next week...
Ian, another 90-minute work-out - what did you make of it?
Really pleased. That was the main objective coming into this game. The gaffer spoke to the senior lads to say it's 90 minutes, that's our aim. We always thought we were going to take off Ashley Young a little bit earlier... We thought it was going to be 60 minutes but he said he wanted another 10, so that was a big bonus for us - and he got his goal. Getting all the rest of the lads through 90 minutes was a major plus at the end of a really good week.
A first goal for Ashley Young on his first appearance, how impressed have you been with him in this first week or so?
He brings so much character around the dressing room. To bring someone in of his calibre and experience is invaluable to us. He's a really solid campaigner.
Another win today... How much importance do you place on that at this stage? It's always nice to win?
Always win. Any time you pull the Everton shirt on, you want to be winning a game. That was the the team talk beforehand. Yes, you want to get 90 minutes and it's work you want to get through in pre-season but the winning mentality is what we're after. Coming out with the shirt on and winning a game, and getting all the hard work in was a real bonus.
You touched on it earlier - it's been a tough week for the lads with fitness work as well. How pleased are you with where we're at at the moment?
We rely heavily on the sport science at this time of the season and they're saying we're ahead of the curve. They're putting miles on the clock and it was a big week. We tapered down a little bit yesterday because we knew they'd be doing 90 minutes today but it is a case of working with the sport science lads. They and they coaching staff are really pleased with this week's worth - and the two-and-a-half weeks of work we've done since we've been back. The players have taken it on, they've been really, really positive. The manager told them in no uncertain terms at the end of last season that pre-season is going to be tough - and it is, but they've taken it on. They've been superb since day one.
A few more lads back next week with Jimmy Garner, Jarrad Branthwaite and Demarai Gray set to return after international action. Will it be good to have them back with the group?
Yes because it boosts the squad a little bit. I think every senior team player that was available to us was on the pitch with us today, apart from Mason Holgate, who was with the Under-21s as he comes back from injury. We wanted to get him some playing time and he offered up, so fair play to him as that'll be good for him. We are a little bit shy on numbers but, as you say, we get the three internationals back next week and then hopefully a couple of the injured boys who are closing in on a return towards the end of the week as well.
Another game soon with a trip to Bolton on Tuesday. What's the plan between now and then?
The players will get a day off tomorrow then it will be back to work on the Monday. We'll do a little roll call and see how they feel because that was their first 90 minutes, so I'm sure they're going to be a little bit stiff but we'll have a look on Monday and get going again.