Everton manager Marco Silva was pleased with the maturity of his side during their 1-0 win against Cardiff on Saturday, particularly the efforts of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Andre Gomes and Idrissa Gueye in midfield.
The hosts maintained 71% possession in the game, their most in a Premier League outing for over two years, and the Everton boss was happy to walk away with three points after a 'tough' encounter.
Silva was full of praise for Sigurdsson after the game, telling Sky Sports: “He is performing well. The fantastic work of the two behind him – Idrissa and Andre – is helping him too. He is a very good player.
“He’s understanding more now what I want, the moves he has to do, what are the positions and the space on the pitch he has to receive the ball.
“He’s a very good player with a lot of quality, he can arrive well in the box like I like a player playing in that position [to do]. He’s a fantastic professional who works every day and after it’s easy to understand how he can work as well on the pitch during the matches.
Cardiff were resilient at the back and Everton failed to find a way through their defence until Iceland international Sigurdsson broke the deadlock 15 minutes after the interval.
Silva added: “Until we score, the game is always tough. After we made it 1-0 we made chances to make it 2-0 but we didn’t. I am really happy because we won the match, we got three points, we deserved to win
Everton had numerous chances to kill the game off but found Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge in fine form.
Silva said: “We created chances to kill the game, we didn’t do it, and after the game is always open until the end.
"They are strong in set-pieces, long throws, but we were mature in those moments. We started slowly, it was different the second half and we started to create more chances. The game was nothing different to what we expected before the match."
Everton make the short trip across Stanley Park to take on arch rivals Liverpool at Anfield next week looking to build on their good start to the season which sees them sit in sixth in the Premier League.