Everton boss Sean Dyche hailed the togetherness of his side after they beat Newcastle 3-0 to climb out of the Premier League relegation zone.
Dwight McNeil, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Beto scored in the final 11 minutes as the Toffees took the spoils at a raucous Goodison Park.
Dyche has emphasised the importance of team spirit since the club were hit by a 10-point deduction last month and he believes that was evident in their display.
Dyche said: “The performance level at home has been pleasing all season but you have got win games and you have got to score goals.
“We did that well. I thought it was another good performance, particularly first half against a good outfit.
“I have spoken about the mentality and I think you could sense there is a connected group. Everyone knew what they were doing, they just said, ‘Let’s get on it, let’s go out and play’.
“That’s when you know you are onto something. It doesn’t guarantee anything but I think we’re on to something.”
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe – who played down a post-match scuffle involving Joelinton, Anthony Gordon, James Tarkowski and Jordan Pickford as “just emotions” – was left to rue a missed opportunity to close the gap to the top four.
“The game was there for us to win in the second half after an even first half,” he said. “I don’t think we played particularly well.
“I thought we had them penned in and then conceded the first goal and that changed the momentum. It was a frustrating evening, a missed opportunity.
“It’s a difficult one for us to understand. Last year our away form was very good, we were free-scoring. This year haven’t got going on the road, apart from the Sheffield United game (an 8-0 victory).”
Howe refused to point the finger at Kieran Trippier after his mistakes presented Everton with their opening two goals.
“Kieran has been absolutely magnificent since he signed, the catalyst for a lot that happened. Collectively we were off our best.”
Howe has had to deal with a number of injuries this season – he has 12 players currently unavailable – but was not prepared to blame fatigue.
“I am in a difficult position to agree because if I do what is there to stop that happening again and again?” he said.
“There are reasons behind every performance. We have struggled to change our plans and have the attacking options we want. You can potentially do it for a short period of time but the longer it goes the harder it gets.”
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