A new era and a new Everton. Ronald Koeman played down expectations in his pre-match press conference but if the Dutchman can produce this level of improvement in so little time then we can soon look forward to challenging at the top end of the Premier League table.
The difference in Everton’s approach was clear from the opening minutes. The first thought is to move the ball forward quickly, one or two touch football with the ball moved at pace. The width is provided by wing backs with the much criticised James McCarthy and Leighton Baines both performing well in wide midfield positions. Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu, often derided for their lack of effort, worked hard in more central roles, yet Koeman continues to demand more. Working hard for 60 minutes will not satisfy a manager brought up on success during an illustrious playing career.
The biggest improvement was the Blues defensive resilience which was built on three central defenders and hard work from the holding midfield players. Idrissa Gana Gueye was excellent on debut but Jagielka, Funes Mori and Mason Holgate expertly marshalled Harry Kane, with the England centre forward anonymous. Young Holgate will learn from his one lapse which let Lamela equalise for Spurs but with Williams and maybe one other centre back to come in, Everton are looking to strengthen the soft underbelly which undermined progress in the last two seasons.