Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti admits getting back to winning ways was the most important thing his players could have done against Brighton.
Richarlison’s 38th-minute goal settled the match and came as a welcome relief after last weekend’s Merseyside derby embarrassment against Liverpool’s second string in the FA Cup third round.
“The most important part of the day was the result,” said the Italian after a first victory in three matches.
“The performance for 60 minutes was good. We were a bit slow at the beginning to build up from the back but after that we were in the game, we could have scored a second one, but naturally at the end when we are only 1-0 up we had more difficulty controlling the game.
“But everything was OK, we defended well, suffering a little bit but absolutely normal.”
In the wake of the derby defeat Everton have endured a difficult week, with a small group of fans turning up at the training ground in an attempt to vent their frustrations at the players – instead being met by director of football Marcel Brands – while Fabian Delph became embroiled in an argument on social media which led to the midfielder being booed when he came off the bench in the second half.
Ancelotti wants to change the mindset so that players are on the front foot from the off.
“The reaction was good, of course, but I think my idea is we that don’t have to react, we have to act,” he added.
“The fact we had to react means before we didn’t act well.”
The Everton boss felt Theo Walcott should have had a fourth-minute penalty when he was tugged back by Lewis Dunk, even if VAR decided there was no punishable offence.
“The fact that Walcott didn’t fall down I think influenced the referee, that was the reason. It’s a difficult job for the referee,” was the Italian’s assessment.
Brighton, now with just one win in the last seven matches, allowed Everton to take the initiative but improved after the break and substitute Glenn Murray could have snatched an equaliser with two minutes to go.
“We could have had something. We had a couple of opportunities with Glenn at the end, hit the bar (though Leandro Trossard), got into the final third quite often without really doing well enough and creating enough chances to sit here and say we deserved something,” said manager Graham Potter.
“You get what you get. Our disappointment is we probably didn’t do enough in that final third to create as many chances as we’d like to put them under pressure.
“We gave the ball away when we had opportunities to keep it and that means you get driven back a little bit.
“We wanted to put them under a bit more pressure but we were unable to. There wasn’t too much in the game in the first half, to be fair, but the scoreline meant we were disappointed.
“We had to change things at half-time, stepped on the game a bit more and felt we created some pressure.
“But at the same time we still got in the final third often and we lacked the quality in the final third – and they were attacking our goal too easily.”