Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti believes his players are starting to show glimpses of how he envisages the side should be playing.
The 5-2 win over West Brom made it back-to-back victories at the start of a season for the first time since 2012-13 and there was plenty to admire, especially in the second half – albeit against 10 men after Kieran Gibbs stupidly got himself sent off.
With James Rodriguez pulling the strings, full-backs Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne pushing on, one of Allan or Abdoulaye Doucoure dropping deep to provide cover and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scoring a poacher’s hat-trick Ancelotti’s tactics appear to be taking shape to some success.
“I think we had creativity in front,” said the Italian.
“I think we are really dangerous up front because we push with full-backs, we have (Andre Gomes) and James between the lines, we had Calvert-Lewin in a fantastic moment and Richarlison looked dangerous on the counter-attack and in the box.
“This is the reason we had a lot of opportunities. Also on set-pieces we looked dangerous with Michael Keane and Yerry Mina.”
Ancelotti was far-from satisfied, however, particularly with the opening goal they conceded when Grady Diangana ran from 20 yards inside his own half with no-one making a challenge and Yerry Mina backing away to allow West Brom’s summer signing to fire home from the edge of the area.
“Yerry had an average game, I think he could be more aggressive and do more with the ball,” said the Toffees boss.
“The only aspect we have to look at is him being more aggressive when he can press the opening.”
Calvert-Lewin is flourishing under the three-time Champions League-winning manager however.
The 23-year-old became the youngest Englishman to score a Premier League hat-trick for Everton, taking his tally to four this season and 12 in 23 games for Ancelotti.
He scored the equaliser with a clever backheel and all three of his goals were poacher’s finishes, complementing a sublime strike from Rodriguez and Michael Keane’s second goal in as many games.
“The manager is on me every day about one-touch finishes and being in the box – being in the right areas to put the ball in the back of the net,” he told evertontv.
“It’s nice to know what I’m working on in training is coming off on the pitch and that’s the biggest reward – my first hat-trick in professional football and in the end a good team performance.”
West Brom boss Slaven Bilic, sent off at half-time after complaining about the dismissal of Gibbs moments before, saw two of his summer signings score with Matheus Pereira whipping in a free-kick to briefly make it 2-2 early in the second half.
He tried to remain upbeat despite the defeat, which left them rooted to the bottom of the table without a point and Chelsea up next.
“There are many positives that you would take from this, that you would cut and paste on to the next performance and ask for the same again,” he said.
“There was so much to admire about us in the first half, we were braver and showed more quality than previously, which is what I asked the guys to do. We were pressing and creating chances and causing them problems.
“But of course there were also negatives that we have to stop.
“I can’t be happy with conceding goals from set pieces and there was some naivety that you can’t afford at this level.”