Marco Silva hopes Everton can continue to enjoy their home comforts as the season progresses after they recorded their fifth successive Premier League win at Goodison Park by edging out Watford.
Bernard’s 10th-minute strike was all that separated the sides, Everton holding on to claim a 1-0 victory with some resolute defence and some moments of fortune.
Watford defender Craig Dawson headed against the bar while Troy Deeney’s shot clattered off goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s face after going through one-on-one as Everton sealed their first Premier League victory of the campaign.
Crucial to their recent success on Merseyside has been their miserly back-line, with clean sheets in each of their last six top-flight fixtures at home.
Silva said: “We want to make Goodison a fortress. I’m really proud of our record and our players, the numbers are fantastic for us.
“We’ve had six cleans sheets at home, five wins in a row and 10 clean sheets in the last 13 (league) games (overall). Our home record in the last six games is fantastic.
“Our players are working really hard. Not just the goalkeeper and the back-line, but everyone is working really hard.
“Now the next step is to do the same in the other box. We are creating chances, but now is the time for us to be more assertive.”
Everton made a purposeful start, which was rewarded when the influential Lucas Digne’s long ball forward led to Bernard cutting inside and rifling beyond Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster at his near post.
Richarlison missed a free header shortly before half-time, and though Watford recovered from a sluggish opening to create a number of opportunities to level, they lacked a cutting edge.
Silva recognised it was far from a vintage display but the Portuguese was grateful Everton were able to build on last week’s draw at Crystal Palace in their season-opener last Saturday.
The Everton manager added: “We deserved the three points. It was an important win for us, but keeping clean sheets is also important.
“It was a tough game but we controlled the first 25-30 minutes. We lost a little bit of control after that and we didn’t start the second half.
“I’m not really happy with our performance because I know we can play better, but it’s important you win when you don’t play your best.”
Watford remain without a point or goal after two matches this season, having been stunned 3-0 in their curtain-raiser by Brighton last weekend.
Head coach Javi Gracia said: “I am disappointed with the result not the performance. In my opinion we deserved something. If you don’t score in the moment when you dominate the game then you get punished.
“When we play against Everton we always have equal games but you have to take chances against opponents.
“I am happy with the performance knowing we have things to improve. We have played only two games, last season we won four in a row. Now we have to be calm and prepare in the same way next game.
“With the quality of our players I am sure we will play better in the next games.”
Gracia felt Wattford should have been awarded a penalty after Gerard Deulofeu went down under a challenge from Everton defender Yerry Mina, with the video assistant referee turning down the visitors’ appeals.
Gracia added: “At this moment I don’t think VAR is helping referees. If your opinion is diving then I respect, but Yerry Mina does not touch the ball.”