Everton boss Marco Silva has heaped praise on in-form left-back Lucas Digne.
Having already impressed following his switch from Barcelona in August, Digne was very much to the fore on Boxing Day as he netted twice in the 5-1 win at Burnley.
Silva said of the France international ahead of Saturday’s trip to Brighton: “Fantastic football player, a fantastic professional, works always with a big ambition, and he’s a winner – he likes to win, not just in the matches but in every training session as well.
“He came here to work really hard, to improve every day.
“Of course I knew before we signed him, when I analysed him, he could be an important player for us, even if we have a very good solution like Leighton Baines.
“We don’t have doubts about his quality but after, when you start to work with players, you know them better and his character, his personality as a player is fantastic.
“He is doing very well, has settled really well in our club, and what I expect is something more, because he has the quality to improve.”
Another player Everton signed from Barcelona over the summer is Colombia centre-back Yerry Mina, who registered his first Toffees goal when he headed in the opener in the contest at Turf Moor.
When asked if he felt Mina’s performance in that game had been his best yet for Everton, Silva said: “I don’t think so.
“It was a very good performance, but on his (full) debut he did a very, very good game as well against Chelsea (the 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on November 11).
“(Against Burnley) he did again very well. It is important for him, to grow his confidence.
“He is a new player in the country. The language is really important for players playing in specific positions on the pitch, like central defender, goalkeeper – players I want always in command and with a good communication with their team-mates.
“He is improving as well in this situation, to speak English, as fast as he can.”
Mina was part of a three-man central defence in the Burnley game, alongside Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma, after Silva changed formation following Sunday’s dire 6-2 home loss to Tottenham.
Silva was asked if playing with a back three was something fans could expect to see more of, and he said: “It is something I had in my mind since pre-season.
“It was not the first time we did it, and let’s see in the future if we do it more times or not.”
The Burnley result was Everton’s first win in six Premier League matches. They are currently eighth in the table, while Brighton – who ended a three-game losing streak on Boxing Day with a 1-1 home draw against Arsenal – are 13th.