Defenders Seamus Coleman and Ashley Williams scored headed goals against the Gunners to secure the Toffees their first Premier League win since October 30
Ronald Koeman felt a change in attitude was the key to Everton turning around a one-goal deficit in their dramatic 2-1 victory over Arsenal on Tuesday.
With just one win in their previous 10 Premier League outings going into the fixture, Everton were unsurprisingly lacking in confidence in the early stages at Goodison Park.
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Alexis Sanchez’s deflected free-kick in the 20th minute gave second-placed Arsenal – who had not lost in league action since the opening weekend of the season – a deserved lead.
However, after Seamus Coleman nodded in an equaliser just before half time, fellow defender Ashley Williams headed home Ross Barkley’s corner in the 86th minute to complete Everton’s impressive turnaround.
“You can speak as a manager, you can tell them what they need to change, but if you start like we started then you do not win any game in the Premier League,” Koeman told BT Sport.
“We were very nervous. Every ball was backwards, rather than playing forwards. I can understand a lack of confidence, but we know if you fight for every ball, be aggressive, you then see the reaction from the crowd and it’s difficult to win against Everton away.
“We showed that after 20 minutes. We went face-to-face with them, and that’s what you need to do against teams like Arsenal. With a lot of aggression you can make it difficult.
“We deserved the win and the three points today.”
Everton had Phil Jagielka sent off in the closing stages as they were forced to weather a late Arsenal onslaught that included sending goalkeeper Petr Cech up for corners.
Koeman watched on as his defence held firm during a dramatic goalmouth scramble in injury time, although the Dutchman felt his players deserved a little luck.
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“You know the qualities of Arsenal and they keep playing between the lines,” he added.
“We had the dismissal of Jagielka in the last five minutes and then the goalkeeper Cech goes up. We were lucky with the last challenge in the box, but you need luck in life, and football to win the game.”
The result lifts Everton up to seventh place in the league, as well as providing a timely boost to confidence ahead of the Merseyside derby against Liverpool on Monday.