Wayne Rooney scored his first Everton goal in 13 years with an accomplished header in first-half stoppage time to beat Stoke
Ronald Koeman admitted that his Everton side needs to "improve a lot" on today's performance against Stoke but he was justifiably happy to have started 2017-18 with a win.
The Blues notched a victory in their first Premier League game of a new season for the first time in five years when Wayne Rooney powered home a header in first-half stoppage time.
The returning striker's goal was a rare moment of class in an otherwise dull first period as Koeman's men struggled in a lop-sided system that had Dominic Calvert-Lewin operating as an advanced wing-back to the right of three centre-halves.
The Dutchman responded with a change in the second half which yielded an improved display after the break and while there were no more goals, Everton held out to claim the points.
“The points are really welcome," Koeman smiled after the match. "Always in the first game you don't know what to expect. Everybody will [say] they are prepared and ready for the start of the Premier League but it wasn't the performance that we like.
“I thought the first half was really difficult, the team looked nervous in ball possession. That's the reason why I changed the system at half time.
“The second half was better [after] we scored a great goaL. We kept a clean sheet, and that's all positive but we need to improve a lot and that's the conclusion out of this afternoon.
“I think with three points in the pocket, the new signings will be more comfortable. Without confidence you don't play your best.
Koeman was fulsome in his praise of Rooney who came up trumps after two comparatively disappointing performances in the Europa League games against Ružomberok.
The 31-year-old turned in a mature display reflective of his experience, dictating the play in midfield and helping out enormously defending set-pieces in his own box.
“[Wayne] showed that he is still one of the best in his position," his manager said. "I think he was different class today in ball possession. He was comfortable on the ball, he made good decisions and he scorted a gerat goal and you can't ask for more than that.
“You like to have players in the team with a lot of cleverness on the pitch and they know what to do at certain moments and he that showed today because that was his best game so far."