Marco Silva believed his side’s attacking approach early in the game paid dividends after Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice in four minutes to guide the Premier League side into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup and ease the pressure on the Everton manager.
After defeat by Sheffield United on Saturday left them 14th in the Premier League and Silva in the spotlight, it was the turn of the boyhood Blades fan Calvert-Lewin to take centre stage at Hillsborough.
The 22-year-old struck after six minutes following a counter-attack which saw him cushion Djibril Sidibe’s ball and fire home off the underside of the crossbar.
There was a gleeful celebration in front of the Kop before he slotted home Alex Iwobi’s low ball from close range to double the score and essentially seal the tie with 80 minutes remaining.
Cameron Dawson denied Calvert-Lewin a hat-trick late in the first half but the damage had already been inflicted on Garry Monk’s team.
Silva was pleased with his side’s response to Saturday’s defeat and said: “It was really important for us to start well the game with two early goals. We were the best team all the first half, we created more chances, Dominic had more chances, Richarlison as well.
“We controlled the game and I don’t remember so many chances for them. We deserved the win and to play the next round was the most important thing for us.”
So too did Silva praise Calvert-Lewin, saying: “Important for him to score twice. He had one or two chances to score to make the hat-trick but he did well to score in the important moment of the game and really important to win more confidence.”In the last three games he has scored three goals so let’s hope he continues in this way.”
It may have been a different story had the Owls taken advantage of a golden opportunity after two minutes but Jordan Pickford thwarted Sam Winnall.
Dominic Iorfa flashed a back-post header wide, Adam Reach could only guide the ball into Pickford’s hands in front of goal and Winnall nodded a fierce header past the post.
Monk, who won the League Cup as a Swansea player in 2013, said: “Overall a lot of good things happened in that game for us. It wasn’t just about making changes. There were a few other situations I had to consider.
“The truth is on the pitch. A few of them deserve their opportunity and to play and you need to see it. At the end of the day we are going to need the whole squad for the season.
“I thought they did themselves proud tonight. Of course we are disappointed with the result: no-one wants to lose a game, no-one likes losing games. I think the difference really was they were more clinical with the chances they took and we weren’t.”
Crawley deepen Stoke gloom
League Two Crawley joined Colchester in the fourth round thanks to a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over troubled Stoke.
Sam Vokes opened the scoring for Stoke in the 23rd minute but Nathan Ferguson equalised for the home side before half-time. Stoke played the last 28 minutes with 10 men after Nathan Collins’ dismissal.
Vokes then missed the very first spot-kick, which proved decisive as Crawley scored all five of theirs.
It was a happier night for Watford who battled to a 2-1 success against Swansea at Vicarage Road in the wake of their 8-0 defeat by Manchester City.
Danny Welbeck opened the scoring for Watford in the 28th minute with his first goal for nearly a year but Sam Surridge equalised six minutes later and the hosts had to wait until the 79th minute for Roberto Pereyra to net the winner.
There was a big away win for a Premier League side at Kenilworth Road, where Leicester defeated Luton 4-0.
Demarai Gray scored twice with James Justin and Youri Tielemans also on target.