Marco Silva underlined his belief the strong competition for places within his squad will help Everton “grow as a club” after the Blues beat Cardiff City to move up to sixth position in the Premier League.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 59th-minute strike proved the difference at Goodison Park as the Toffees saw off Neil Warnock’s obdurate side to secure a fourth straight home success in the top flight.
Ahead of the clash, boss Silva spoke of the “good headache” presented to him in deciding his central defensive pairing for the game.
Against Chelsea a fortnight ago, Yerry Mina performed admirably alongside the imperious Michael Keane when stepping in for the ineligible Kurt Zouma, who had started the Toffees’ previous 10 matches.
Mason Holgate and Club captain Phil Jagielka are also scrapping for a first-team spot, with Silva having a full complement of talented centre-backs to choose from.
As it was, the manager stuck with the Keane-Mina partnership that helped Everton become the first side to stop Chelsea from scoring at Stamford Bridge this season – and the pair impressed again as Silva’s side recorded another clean sheet against Cardiff.
The Portuguese insists the fact he faces such tough decisions in determining his starting XI is evidence of the rich reserves of quality in his Blues squad.
“It was a really difficult decision to take [at centre-back],” he said. “It is the type of decision a coach has to take.
“Zouma worked really hard during the week to show me he wanted to play and he deserved to play. Kurt and Michael had done really well, with Zouma on the left and Michael on the right.
“We have very good solutions in that position and I don’t forget the other two, Mason Holgate and Phil Jagielka.
“But it is football and there is good competition between the players.
“In the last game our organisation was fantastic. Mina did really well and kept his position.
“Let’s see what my decision is in the future, it can change for many reasons.
“I like to have this problem. It means we have quality and this competition will make them better players every day. We can grow as a club in this way.”
Saturday’s victory means Everton have now accumulated 16 points from their past seven Premier League games.
Next up for Silva’s side is a Merseyside derby at Anfield, which kicks off a run of fixtures that will see the Blues play eight matches in 31 days.
Silva believes the depth of talent Everton possess will prove invaluable as they embark on that hectic festive schedule.
“We have good players in each position to compete – not just in the centre of defence,” he said.
“We have five or six months to play this season and a busy December and all of them will have a chance to play more and more.
“Ademola Lookman showed me again [against Cardiff] what he is showing every day in training and showed in the Chelsea match.
“We have good competition and it is up to me to decide now.”