Having finally claimed a win back on his old Goodison Park stomping ground as a manager, Mikel Arteta felt his team had learnt from previous setbacks on the blue half of Merseyside to come away with three points this time.
Leandro Trossard’s well-taken goal proved to be the difference between the teams in a game of few opportunities - especially for our opponents - and that control of proceedings pleased the boss most who felt we merited our first victory at the venue since 2017.
Reflecting on ending our Goodison hoodoo, he said: “Six years without a win here is a long time, so we had to learn some lessons, we had to be better. I am delighted for the win but especially the way we won it, the way we played, how dominant we were, the presence that we showed on the pitch. We fully deserved to win the game.
“I think we had many other openings to put the ball in the last line and to put somebody in the box and finalise. Credit to Everton, they defended the box extremely well, and they had some big, big blocks when we opened them up. It’s great to have other ways to score goals, it gives you different resources and be more unpredictable."
The win tastes all the sweeter for Mikel given he spent six years as a player at the Toffees, but his former home had proven to be a tough place to head to after hanging up his boots.
Three times he had lost here previously as our manager, but he was thrilled to end that run on this occasion, especially as he noted the efforts our supporters went to to travel across the country late on a Sunday afternoon to back the boys to a fourth win from five to kick off the campaign.
“It’s a special place for me, obviously I have a big emotional attachment for this club and I am extremely grateful for the time I had here,” Mikel added. “I want the best for them except for when we play against them, and today we are fortunate that we won the game.
“[Our supporters are] incredible. Every ground, every day, they keep getting better and better I think, they are enjoying the moment. They are incredibly important for us, and hopefully everybody showed their appreciation for all the time and effort they put in to always be with us. I’ll see you on Wednesday!”
Hear more from Mikel, including an update on Gabriel Martinelli’s injury, by pressing play on the video above.
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