New manager Sean Dyche re-ignited the energy and tenacity missing for so long as Everton won their first match since October but warned there was much more required to drag the club out of danger.
There was an echo of Walter Smith’s ‘Dogs of War’ of the mid-1990s in the 1-0 victory over Premier League leaders Arsenal, a result built on midfield aggression, defensive commitment and finished by James Tarkowski’s header on the hour.
Dyche recalled Abdoulaye Doucoure, who had been training on his own for the final days of Frank Lampard’s reign after a fall-out, for his first league start since August and the Frenchman and Belgium international Amadou Onana both delivered.
The 21-year-old Onana, who only arrived in the summer, was linked with a January move to the Gunners but Everton held onto him despite their struggles and Dyche is now looking to enhance his contribution to the team.
In order to do that he plans to enlist the help of a Belgian he knows well in Steven Defour, a midfield enforcer he had at Burnley, to educate the youngster on the finer points of Premier League football.
“He has got a lot to learn. I think he is a talent, the ugly side of the game he has to learn,” Dyche said of Onana.
“I had a bit of fun with him and I said I am getting you to speak to Steven Defour and we will be doing that.
“He said ‘Steven Defour, I know who he is’ and I said ‘So do I – and when we speak to him next week he will teach you about what the requirements of the Premier League are’.
“He is a young man who is learning. He has come in here with real talent and is fantastic physically and we will get him fitter and sharper and teach him to be a complete player.
“He has a lot to offer but has a long way to go to become a complete player and Steven will help me possibly educate him.
“He (Defour) is a well-respected international footballer for Belgium and he will rub off on him. If he doesn’t I’ll rub off on him.”
After nine defeats in their last 12 Premier League matches this was a victory built on sweat, toil and determination – all hallmarks of an effective Dyche team.
Everton had more shots on target and won more corners than the Gunners despite their 30 per cent possession but where they were most successful was in either penalty area.
Tarkowski epitomised that as he rose highest to win a header in the six-yard box from a corner and then threw himself in the way of everything in his own penalty area.
But Dyche managed to get a tune out of virtually all the players who have been underperforming for over a year now.
And while victory was welcome, the new manager will not be blinded by one result.
“A win was important, how quickly we got it, and a clean sheet is fantastic but come in Monday because you (the players) will be working,” he added.
“It’s not about giving days off, the plan is the plan and it won’t change.
“My way of working is to embrace the past and build the future. The teams of the 80s could be powerful and direct but they could play.
“Now we have to do a version of it in modern style with analytics, recruitment, science and of course organisation.
“We have very good players here and I want to give them that platform and hopefully the freedom to then go on and play.”
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is confident a second league defeat of the season will not derail them and backed his players to bounce back at home to Brentford next weekend.
“The best way to do it is understand who we are, how we got where we are and start to do the basic things right, start to play the way we want to play,” he said.
“Then start to do it better individually and collectively and then you will earn the right to win games.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub