Leighton Baines has insisted he is ready to 'get my teeth' into the final eight games of the season after the Everton stalwart made his comeback from a calf injury.
Baines had spent the last three-and-a-half months on the treatment table with the problem he sustained in the November loss at Southampton, but made his first appearance under Sam Allardyce in last Saturday's 2-0 win over Brighton.
The veteran left-back spoke to the Blues' official site in the aftermath of that win and explained how he had felt no ill effects from his first run out since the 4-1 defeat to the Saints, despite playing the full 90 minutes at Goodison Park.
Baines said: “I had no problems. It was a great game to come back into and get a bit of extra fitness. You cannot get that anywhere else.
“You are never sure when you come back in – until you get into a proper game – what your fitness levels will be like.
“But I felt quite comfortable. I had the experience to look after myself and when the onus is on us to go and win the game – we have so many attacking players in the team – to assess those moments when we are going forward and I can potentially join in.
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“I am pleased to be back and looking forward to getting my teeth into the tail end of the season.”
Gaetan Bong's own goal finally ended the Seagulls' resistance in a match Everton had dominated for an hour before their breakthrough.
Cenk Tosun also notched his first Toffees goal on home soil since his January transfer from Besiktas - a strike set up by Baines after the 33-year-old had played a succinct one-two with the forward.
Baines and his lovely left foot at left back, Sigurdsson through the middle, Rooney in centre mid, Tosun up top, Martina on the bench, Klaassen on the bench and Schneiderlin (and suspended Williams) not in the 18.— Ell Bretland (@EllBretland) March 10, 2018
Fair play to Everton allowing the fans to pick today's team. #EFC
And Baines added that he was delighted to see the Turkey international notch his second goal in as many matches as he revealed how the 26-year-old was now settled into his new way of life.
Baines said: “I thought he was brilliant. He did all the ugly things really well, he gave us a good focal point and brought other people into the game.
“I thought his all-round play was great and he deserved his goal. He gives us a lot on the pitch and has settled into the dressing room really well. He is a good lad, has a great character and I think you can see that on the pitch.
“He looks comfortable, he looks at home and he is up and running with his goals now. That is great for us."