It is a decade since David Moyes first became acquainted with a manager's dug-out and he revealed that he had witnessed, in the sang-froid of Sven Goran Eriksson alongside him at Goodison on Saturday, the demeanour which comes of true experience.
Appearances can be deceptive. Eriksson's 31 years in management might dwarf the 10 which began for Moyes with a 3-1 defeat for Preston against Graham Taylor's Watford – Moyes so unsure of himself that he had begged to remain caretaker until he was sure the fans approved – but the Swede was as close to furious as his demeanour will allow at half-time here and it is he who will head into training today more unsettled about the top-four spot which both teams have in their sights. That is not just because Everton have now finally beaten a team above them in the League this season (toppling City to seventh in the process) but because while Moyes has a tried and tested system, Eriksson is still trying to conjure something that resembles one from playmakers who glitter when there are several yards of space to play in at Eastlands but who don't travel too well to lands occupied by the Lee Carsleys and Phil Nevilles of English football.
The City manager has rarely looked more disgruntled than after a display in which his players took 92 minutes to muster a shot. "I said [at half-time] if you want to play like this we will have to sell half of you and take in a different type of player; we'll advertise," he revealed, reflecting that Everton had frightened his side into the kind of long-ball game which he forbids in training.
Eriksson's team-talks have a pronounced effect and things picked up. But the curious way his team was organised – Elano sent out wide right to make room for the Mexican Nery Castillo, operating behind a lone striker – suggested more profound problems about how to assemble his players for a day like this.
Elano was anonymous, Martin Petrov marginalised by a superb Tony Hibbert and the slight Castillo didn't last an hour. City's transfer machinations are taking longer than expected and, with a solitary away win since the opening day of the season, if some muscle arrives in midfield it will not be before time.
Not so Everton. Moyes hates the suggestion that the side he has created is all brawn and no imagination and though this was not a day that they entirely disproved it – Carsley might have been sent off on the hour for a two-footed challenge on Vedran Corluka – there is a synchronicity about the balance of ball collectors and creators in midfield. Though Eriksson believed Joleon Lescott was fractionally offside when Mikel Arteta drove in the ball which Lescott touched in with his left foot on the half-hour Everton were probably worth the points.
Goal: Lescott (31) 1-0.
Everton (4-1-4-1) Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Nuno Valente; Carsley; Arteta, Neville, McFadden (Vaughan, 60), Cahill; Anichebe (Baines, 90). Substitutes not used: Ruddy (gk), Gravesen, Stubbs.
Manchester City (4-5-1) Hart; Onuoha, Richards, Dunne, Ball; Corluka, Hamann (Gelson, 56), Petrov, Castillo (Bianchi, 57), Elano; Vassell (Ireland, 69). Substitutes not used: Isaksson (gk), Garrido.
Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).
Booked: Everton Cahill, Carsley; Manchester City Hamann.
Man of the match: Hibbert.
Attendance: 38,474.Reuse content