Gylfi Sigurdsson shrugged off a penalty miss to fire Everton to a 3-0 win over Fulham and believes the Toffees are now well-placed to bounce back from their own early frustrations.
Despite widespread optimism after Marco Silva’s appointment, frustration was starting to grow around Goodison Park on the back of a run of four games within a win.
And while Sigurdsson’s 52nd-minute penalty miss hardly improved the mood, the Iceland star’s late double, sandwiching a header from substitute Cenk Tosun, suggested Silva’s men are belatedly on the right track.
Sigurdsson told Everton’s official website: “The result was massive for us, especially after the past two games.
“In the second half we showed what we are capable of and it was a good three points. The feeling in the squad has always been positive and we are moving in the right direction.”
Visitors Fulham had threatened to increase Everton’s woes in a promising first-half performance, highlighted by a fine move which ended in Ryan Sessegnon smacking a shot against the underside of the bar from close range.
But Silva’s half-time words of wisdom paid off and, in a much-improved second-half display, Everton should have been in front almost immediately after Dominic Calvert-Lewin was barged over by Denis Odoi in the box.
Sigurdsson hit the woodwork with his spot-kick, but three minutes later he drilled home the opener from the edge of the box, and the newly-introduced Tosun headed home on the hour to effectively seal Everton’s win.
“For a minute, I did think it was going to be one of those days,” added Sigurdsson. “But something inside of me just said to forget about it and move on. I had to be strong enough mentally to go on and score or set something up.”
Fulham faded badly, despite a chance on the counter-attack for Luciano Vietto when his side still trailed by a single goal, and Sigurdsson’s second effort in the 89th minute was just what the home side deserved.
While Silva’s men regained their upward trajectory, Fulham were left to count the cost of a bruising encounter which is likely to have left Joe Bryan and Timothy Fonsue-Mensah out of action for a number of weeks with hamstring and shoulder injuries respectively.
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic made no excuses after his side’s defeat, urging them to start to show more ambition and take their chances if they are to avoid a season of struggle.
“It’s definitely not good news for us to be conceding so many goals at the start of the season,” admitted Jokanovic. “We have to show more ambition and be more clinical, and fix the problem at the back.
“In the second half we didn’t reach our level. They had a little bit more power and a little bit more speed to find the way to score three easy goals.”