Was today, given your record here, just about getting the win?
“It’s always about the win when you play Premier League. A win is a win and it’s most important because it’s what we play for. It’s important to build confidence, belief, the atmosphere, and also to be open for improvement and criticism because there are a lot of things to improve.
“There are also a lot of good things to take away. We have struggled in the last years to steal the points here and win and today we got all three and a clean sheet. From here we go.”
What was your assessment of how you attacked?
“In general, it was maybe not the most exciting Premier League game in the history of the Premier League. Seven minutes of extra time in the first half, ten minutes in the second half tell the story. There were a lot of interruptions, no team could find a rhythm.
“Everton defended deep in the first half and we struggled with switching the play, we struggled to feel the moments to change speed. It seemed like we did not want to do a decisive mistake so we did not take the risk that is needed in the final 25 metres to open a space up.
“But in general it was ok. Second half we did not have enough movement on the ball and that created a lot of ball losses from which we suffered and the game was stuck in between the halves. It wasn’t in our half or their half. So in the first away match, you hang in and do what you need to keep a clean sheet and get the win.”
Thiago Silva turns 38 years old next month, have you ever worked with a player at that age so fit?
“Maybe I never worked with a player in general that age, so he is the fittest one I’ve trained at that age. In general, all three of our players in the back three were in their thirties, the two number sixes are in their thirties, and we could see that we struggled a bit physically at the end of the match.
“We need to improve our physical level and we will improve. We can be confident we will improve and we are on it. Thiago is a key, key player in the middle of the defence right now but we need to move on the ball, not off the ball, to invest more physically with more runs. That will come with more training and more games.”
There have been reports that Marcos Alonso asked not to be in the squad today and that he’s close to a move to Barcelona, is that the case?
“That is the case. He tries to leave and we agreed to this wish. That’s why it would not have made sense to put him on the pitch today. He would’ve been on the pitch otherwise but in this situation, it was the right thing to do.”
Is there anything, in particular, you think you need to get results here?
“It was a very tough fixture here last season and we made one mistake and that brought Everton a goal and then we could not score. Jordan Pickford was fantastic that day and when you drive home, you don’t know why it was nessacary. Today it was the other way around.
“For us, it was important to get the opening goal. Everton defended very deep and if you play against the whole block with a lot of discipline and effort, it’s always difficult to find the chance. You need the one-on-ones, the quick accelerations, and full belief in your game.
“There are still things to improve but with a bit of luck, the right spirit and passion, we managed to win and to start with an away win was a fantastic result.”