The fixture list may have marked last weekend’s trip to Molineux as the beginning of the Marco Silva era at Everton, but for many fans, that new era never truly gets underway until the new boss has walked out to Z Cars and made his mark at Goodison Park.
On Saturday, against Southampton, that’s just what the club’s 19th permanent manager did. He made his mark.
Everton strolled to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Theo Walcott and Richarlison but could have extended that lead before they were deservedly applauded off at the half-time break.
Danny Ings pegged the Blues back just before the hour mark but it was Walcott who could, and should, have killed the game off.
The former Arsenal man had a goal ruled out, perhaps incorrectly, as Cenk Tosun was adjudged to be offside in the build-up.
He then fluffed his lines when given the chance to right that wrong by skewing his one-on-one effort wide of the far-post when he had the chance to tuck it home at the near post.
In the end, it didn’t matter as Silva picked up his first three points as Everton boss in both an entertaining and battling fashion.
Devil is in the detail
Former players of Silva’s have stressed just how meticulous he can be on the training pitch.
Be it repeating a throw-in routine until it’s perfect or stopping the play and physically moving a player into the position he needs to be, the Portuguese boss is determined to be perfect through practice.
That, again, was evident on Saturday as the Blues took the lead.
A wonderfully well-worked free-kick routine saw Leighton Baines play a short ball to Morgan Scheniderlin as the Southampton backline prepared for a deep cross from Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Schneiderlin’s first-touch round the corner flick allowed Walcott to run free from any markers and dink the ball over the sprawling Alex McCarthy to give the Blues the lead.
It was something that captain for the day Seamus Coleman noted after the day that Silva had worked on.
The boss, himself, also praised his players for executing on the pitch what they had trained for on the training pitch.
Set-pieces, both in attack and defence, have been an afterthought at Goodison for some time and with Silva seemingly placing an emphasis, at least somewhat, on them, it looks as if his time spent away from game studying the Blues following his departure from Watford has paid off sooner rather than later.
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New Blues, new attitude?
Ten of the Everton starting eleven on Saturday afternoon played a part in some turgid football under former boss Sam Allardyce but, for the majority of the game, were completely unrecognisable to the team Blues fans last saw.
The only different player in the team was summer signing Richarlison but the Brazilian’s attitude and desire makes it look as if he’s been around the club for quite some time.
His three goals in his first two games have undoubtedly been impressive but it’s work rate the park that will catch the eye for plenty of Everton fans and turn around a number of neutral detractors.
There was no better example of that then a one minute spell in the first-half, just as the hosts were beginning to turn the screw and looking to finish the game in the first 45 minutes.
The Brazilian chased a loose ball in the middle of the park before falling over, then winning the ball back with a sliding tackle, nutmegging a player and then chasing the ball down the wing that he had set in motion.
Richarlison is the only Silva signing that has been able to get his feet wet just yet.
Lucas Digne did take part in the opening day draw away to Wolves but suffered a setback in training. Kurt Zouma is in need of match fitness and wasn’t risked from the bench against the Saints. Bernard could be available for the upcoming game against Bournemouth whilst Barcelona duo Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina are about a fortnight away from being ready.
It’ll take time before Silva gets to name what he believes to be his strongest time but for now, his biggest and most criticised signing is proving his worth both in attack and defence.
It's that's sort of attitude lead from a key player in a squad that will turn around a club's fortunes sooner rather than later.
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Appreciative Goodison can be key
Since taking over in July, Silva has preached patience - both on the pitch and off it.
It makes sense that a man trying to rebuild his once flourishing standing in the game is at a club trying to find it’s identity again after a turbulent year where everything one may have known about the club was put to one side.
Again, on Saturday, preaching patience was the name of Silva’s game.
In his pre-game programme notes, the Portuguese boss stated: “I am sure we will create a really intimidating, formidable environment for our opponents at Goodison.
"I have stood in the away dugout and witnessed this and I stand with pride as Everton manager this afternoon with you, the fans, providing the special support that you do to our players.”
That ‘intimidating, formidable environment’ will have to wait a little longer. The Goodison bear pit doesn’t truly take hold until a key game rolls around or the home team is impressing for longer than 90 minutes.
However, the patience that he has asked for was there on Saturday.
The audible groans and moans of the last 18 months didn’t really rear their heads - bar Idrissa Gueye not taking the ball to the corner flag to see out the final moments and allowing the Saints to spring a late counter-attack.
It was an afternoon more centred around appreciating what was being shown on the pitch rather than trying to find needle with it.
There are obvious issues that need to be addressed and the new Blues boss stated just that following the game.
If he picks up on the flaws of his team and tries to change them, rather than the stubborn attitude of ‘it’ll be fine’ that has been around the club for the past 18 months, then the reputation that Silva hopes to rebuild, will be rebuilt in no time at all.
It’s not easy to win over the Goodison faithful and Silva won’t have won everyone over, perhaps not even a majority of fans just yet either, but picking up three points and playing some stylish football on your first attempt isn’t a bad start to life in Liverpool Four.