Everton manager Ronald Koeman said the decision to rest club captain Phil Jagielka in his side’s 2-0 win over West Ham was made with one eye on a difficult few months ahead.
Ramiro Funes Mori partnered Ashley Williams in the centre of Everton’s defence as goals from Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley ensured the Toffees picked up their first Premier League win in five games.
Funes Mori has made just three Premier League starts since Koeman took over, but the Dutchman was pleased that his reshuffled backline kept a clean sheet without Jagielka.
Everton face Chelsea, Swansea City and Southampton in their November fixtures, before taking on Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool during December, and Koeman said that Jagielka was in need of a rest after the 1-1 draw at Manchester City and 2-1 defeat at Burnley.
He told the Liverpool Echo: “Sometimes it is a fitness question. I had already thought [about resting Jagielka] before the Burnley game but sometimes you think ‘Why change after a very good defensive performance against City?’ but I like to protect Jags.
“November, December and January will be very tough for everyone and sometimes you need to give players a chance to show and that was the final reason I gave the chance to Funes.
“I think we were perfect defensively in defending the crosses and corner kicks,” he added. “We made some changes. I think the goalkeeper [Joel Robles] played fantastically, while Funes and [Bryan] Oviedo did a good job.”
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