Dyche: Forest Win Is A Restart For Everton

Sean Dyche believes Everton’s impressive 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest can be a crucial “restart” for his squad.

Dwight McNeil’s cracking 67th-minute finish proved decisive at the City Ground to hand the Blues their sixth away win in all competitions this season and third on the bounce, following up triumphs at Crystal Palace and West Ham United.

Crucially for Dyche, it was his side’s first success since a 10-point deduction was imposed on the Club by the Premier League commission. And after moving up to 18th in the table, two points behind Luton Town a place above, the Everton manager spoke of the importance of his team showing their strong mentality.

“I’m very pleased,” said Dyche. “After what has happened over the last few weeks, it’s a restart for us. I thought we were good against Manchester United. The scoreline doesn’t look like it was but I thought it was a good performance.

“We’ve taken a strong mentality into an away performance today and it’s now three away wins on the trot which is very difficult in the Premier League.

“The mentality is right, some of the performances levels are right and we’ve got to keep getting that mixture.

“It’s the mentality to do the hard yards. I think we have some very good players here, too. Dwight’s goal is a great example of that as it showed our ability but also the willingness to do the hard yards for each other as a team.

“I think that was on show before the 10-point deduction. A lot of people have been talking about that situation galvanising us but the mentality has been there all season. I think the performance levels have been as well.

“There’s a battle on our hands, we know that, but it’s a big step today to get that first win  after the recent news and a very good away performance.”

Everton dominated large parts of the contest at the City Ground, going close in the first half with chances from Beto, McNeil and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Having rued missed opportunities in last weekend’s harsh loss at home to Manchester United, the squad’s resilience was on show in the East Midlands as they regroup after the break to find the all-important winner from McNeil, before defending resolutely to keep Forest at bay.

Dyche - who singled out the displays of game-winner McNeil along with midfielders Idrissa Gana Gueye and man-of-the-match James Garner - insists the Toffees must keep doing the same to move in the right direction with home matches against Newcastle United and Chelsea coming up in the next eight days.

“I was very pleased with the first half, particularly,” added Dyche. “Forest have become a strong outfit at home but we’ve taken the game on today and I’m very pleased with the mentality to go and grip the game. That’s getting better all the time and was on show, particularly in the first half.

“Dwight deserves it. He puts a lot of work into his game. I ask it of all our players but he certainly puts in a shift for us. We know he’s got real quality: he can assist, he can score, and we’re really pleased for him. It’s a fine finish, without a shadow of a doubt. I must say, I thought our two central midfielders, Gana and Jimmy Garner, were terrific - absolutely outstanding.

“We’ve got to keep going, we’ve got to keep putting in the performances like this. We’ve had a tough test at Nottingham Forest and taken it on. We’ve just got to take on the next challenge. The players can enjoy this but it needs to be parked quickly because the next game comes quickly.”