Everton boss Ronald Koeman says he hopes his team have turned a corner after they beat Sunderland 3-0 in the League Cup to snap a dispiriting losing streak.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin netted twice and substitute Oumar Niasse marked his first Everton appearance since May 2016 with his maiden goal for the club as the Toffees finally won a match after four straight defeats in which they had not scored once.
Wednesday’s third-round tie was the first of four successive fixtures at Goodison Park for Koeman’s men, who in the six-game winless sequence prior to that had played away five times.
“It’s normal if you don’t win that it is difficult,” said the Dutch manager, whose side are languishing in the Premier League’s relegation zone.
“But let’s hope…. We started tonight to win at home and we have three to go, and if we get three wins, I think the whole situation will be different and I will go into the international break with a laugh on my face.
“And if not, maybe it will be a different face.
“In a difficult period, the best medicine is scoring goals and winning games. Overall it was positive.”
Koeman made eight changes, with Calvert-Lewin one of those brought in.
The manager was full of praise for the England Under-21 forward after his two composed strikes, but gave no guarantees about his chances of starting Saturday’s clash with Bournemouth.
“It is still a young player, (and) sometimes you need to protect him,” said Koeman. “But he is a good player — he will be stronger, faster, better.”
Koeman also stressed Wayne Rooney was missing from the squad as he was being rested, saying the decision was not influenced by the forward’s off-field situation.
Rooney pleaded guilty to drink-driving on Monday and was banned from driving for two years and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid community work. It is understood he was also docked two weeks’ wages by his club.
Koeman said: “It was not about his situation, of the court. I thought I needed to rest some players and Wayne was one of them. He asked me to play tonight and I said ‘no, (you will play on) Saturday’.”