Sam Allardyce praised his Everton team, and Wayne Rooney in particular, following their 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion today.
A Gaetan Bong own goal and Cenk Tosun's first strike on home soil since joining the club in January lifted the Blues above the improved Seagulls and back into the top half of the table after two disappointing away defeats.
Rooney saw a late penalty saved by Mat Ryan but the manager wasn't allowing that to detract from what he saw as an excellent individual performance playing as a defensive midfielder, filling in for Idrissa Gueye who was sick.
”We already knew that Morgan was ill,” Allardyce told evertontv afterwards, after explaining that Theo Walcott had to come off with cramp in the second half, “and I think Gana's caught the same bug. We got a call first thing this morning that he couldn't make it.
“So, we had a little think about it and we already thinking about picking a very attacking side today so we decided to go and sit Wayne in the middle where Gana usually plays.
“We thought if we could get him on the ball and produce and see how it goes. And what a masterful job he did for us today.
“His passes were the reason why were so fluent, I felt, in the first half and then again in the second half.
“I think the only thing that let us down in the first half was our quality in front of goal. That improved brilliantly in the second half with three instances particularly: the first goal which was an own goal and it's unfortunate that Theo hasn't scored [it]; the second goal, a nice little layoff to Cenk and a wonderful finish; and then the skill into the box for Dominic to get the penalty. It's just a shame that Wayne didn't finish off an outstanding performance.
“I've got to everybody credit today for the level of performance. It was the sort of performance we know they're capable of and I have to say that longstanding losses of Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines have shown every Everton fan and certainly me today why, perhaps, we haven't got as many results as we perhaps should have done.
“That's not being unkind to Cuco and Jonjoe Kenny who have done brilliantly but [hopefully those guys … after a long injury] — and Yannick Bolasie — can stay fit and we can turn as big a performance at Stoke next week.”