Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti hailed the quality of James Rodriguez after his high-profile summer signing played a key role in the 5-2 win over 10-man West Brom.
The Colombia international scored his first goal – and the crucial one in Ancelotti’s opinion – in English football and played a big role in most of their best football as Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored a hat-trick to take his tally to four for the season.
But it was Rodriguez who caught the eye on his home debut.
“He scored his first goal in the Premier League, this is the most important part,” said Ancelotti.
“It was the key goal of the game. He scored a fantastic goal and a fantastic assist in the second half.
“He is comfortable with the team and everything is OK. In this moment he is using his quality.
“This is the quality I saw at Madrid and the same quality I saw at Bayern.
“The quality of James makes him play easy. His football is not so complicated because when he gets space he likes to use his quality on passes and when he has no space and is under pressure he tries to play simple.
“This is what every player has to do: use quality when there is space and play simple when there is no space.”
West Brom had taken an early lead through their own new signing Grady Diangana but once Calvert-Lewin had equalised the tide began to turn and the hosts assisted their own downfall when Kieran Gibbs was sent off for hitting Rodriguez in the face.
Baggies boss Slaven Bilic was also dismissed after confronting referee Mike Dean at half-time and even Matheus Pereira’s brilliant free-kick to make it 2-2 early in the second half could not save them as Calvert-Lewin and Michael Keane took the game away from them.
Bilic criticised Gibbs for not being more streetwise having initially been bumped into by Rodriguez, which prompted his retaliation.
“It affected the game massively,” he said. “To go 2-1 down and one man down is very difficult.
“We have only ourselves to blame. Kieran did a couple of mistakes. He stayed on his feet (when Rodriguez connected with him) and then reacted so he did not give the referee any other option but to give him a red.
“If he was more savvy, if he had gone down after James had touched him…but he took the worst option by not going down and then reacting with his hand.
“If you do that, especially to a player who is waiting for that, it is a straight red.”
On his own dismissal, he added: “As a manager I should be in a situation to ask the referee what’s going on.
“I didn’t swear. I asked him in a frustrated way but I didn’t go over the line but he just ignored me and gave me red. I told him if you want to kill us, kill us. That’s all.”