Everton boss Marco Silva was impressed by his players' maturity as they saw out a 1-0 win over Cardiff City despite not hitting top gear.
The Toffees continued their momentum ahead of next week's Merseyside derby against Liverpool with a fourth consecutive Premier League home victory on Saturday.
Everton moved above Manchester United into the top six with three points which came courtesy of Gylfi Sigurdsson's seventh goal of the season just before the hour mark, and Silva was convinced they were deserving winners.
"We were mature and competent. We should have scored the second to kill the match, but we deserved the three points," he told BBC Sport.
"The most important thing was the win. The first half was not the best performance, we started slow. We should do things faster against teams like this who are strong in defence.
"It was different in the second half, we started to create more problems. But every moment we didn't score the game is always open, that is the Premier League.
"You always want to play better. That is football, and we were playing against a compact defensive team with lots of individual marking. Until the other team has scored the first or even the second the game was always like that in their [Cardiff's] other away games too.
"We were the better team on the pitch. We shot 16 times, controlled the ball and had more than 70 per cent possession, more corners, everything more – it wasn't the best performance but we played the game our way.
"The game is always like that until a second goal, so being mature on the pitch again was important for me.
"We keep taking the results and a clean sheet is important. The players are working really hard, all together with good spirit, and that is what I want.
"We are happy. We will analyse the match and then prepare for the next one, like we always do."
Cardiff is in the bottom three after its problems in front of goal continued. With only 11 goals in 13 matches to its name, manager Neil Warnock conceded the club will look to address its attacking options in the January transfer window.
"If we were just a little bit more clinical, that's where we let ourselves down," said Warnock.
"That's why we are looking for players in January, but I can't fault the players out there. They were better than us in that final third but I thought we did well.
"There were two incidents before the goal that I wasn't happy with. I thought Kadeem Harris was fouled and then the throw-in with Harry Arter, it comes off their player, the referee should see that.
"Little things like that have gone against us but you can't fault the players, they gave everything."
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