Everton manager Sean Dyche hailed a second successive home win as a “step in the right direction” after the 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Leeds lifted them out relegation zone and dropped their opponents into it.
Seamus Coleman’s 64th-minute cross-shot embarrassed Ilan Meslier at his near post to make it two from two at Goodison for Dyche since he replaced Frank Lampard at the end of last month.
“I thought that mentality was clear today. It is another step in the right direction,” said Dyche.
“You see the other results today (relegation-threatened Southampton and Bournemouth both won), the topsy-turvy nature of the Premier League.
“It just reinforces the work we do with the players. I only try to guide them with what I think is important for them, they still have the freedom to go and play and I thought that was better today.
“Today it was about finding that balance and defending solidly – I don’t think they (Leeds) had a shot on target – but I also thought there was some good quality football today.
“You tie all that together with the work ethic and I think that was tremendous today. We had some very good chances, had one cleared off the line.”
Leeds caretaker manager Michael Skubala admits Meslier’s positioning was at fault for the crucial opening goal but refused to blame his goalkeeper for the defeat.
“Ilan has been caught off his line. He’s saved us points this season but he was out of position for that,” he said.
“I thought we stood up without the ball but we needed to be better with the ball. I thought we battled quite well but didn’t create enough.
“We knew how big the game was. Everton are physical, they are strong, they run. You have to adapt to it.”
As the search for Jesse Marsch’s replacement heads into a third week Skubala will continue to lead the team until told otherwise.
“It is my job to get them as prepared for Southampton (next Saturday) as best I can,” he added.
“At the moment I am planning training for next week. We have good players, we have to keep pushing. I’m full confidence we can get out of it.”