Norwich manager Alex Neil was not surprised to see Steven Naismith given a great reception by Everton fans despite playing a major role in the Canaries’ 2-0 EFL Cup third-round victory at Goodison Park on Tuesday night.
Naismith, who left the Toffees for Carrow Road in January, was applauded by all sides of the ground when his name was announced and, more unusually, it was the same after he finished off a counter-attack to give the visitors the lead against the run of play with a left-footed shot that flew into the top corner via a deflection off his right leg.
That came four minutes before the end of a first half Everton had dominated, and it was the same story after the break until Josh Murphy made sure with a spectacular second in the 74th minute.
Neil said: “I think it speaks volumes of Steven as a lad. It doesn’t happen for every player when they go back, a lot of them get booed and get stick. They obviously hold him in high regard.
”He’s a really good lad, he works extremely hard, he’s honest and I think certainly most fans, if there’s an honesty about a player and you know that he’s going to give everything he’s got, then they appreciate that. I thought it was a great touch for him that he got that reception.”
There was no shock at the City Ground, where a young Arsenal side saw off Nottingham Forest 4-0, with two goals for new signing Lucas Perez.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was pleased to see the Spanish forward on the scoresheet in only his second game for the north London club, but feels the 28-year-old is too reliant on his left foot.
Asked if the two goals would help the confidence of a player who arrived from Deportivo La Coruna for a fee reported to be in the region of £17million, Wenger said: “Of course, a striker is always growing when he scores goals.
“He did well. He’s quick, he’s determined. He uses well his left foot – a bit too much in my taste. He doesn’t use his right enough.”
Liverpool also avoided an upset away at Championship opposition as they beat Derby 3-0.
Chelsea recovered from two goals down to beat 10-man Leicester 4-2 at the King Power Stadium, Cesc Fabregas’ brace early in extra time proving decisive. The Foxes headed into the additional 30 minutes without Marcin Wasilewski, who collected a second yellow card for clashing with Diego Costa.
Reading also had a man sent off – defender Tyler Blackett was dismissed just before half-time following a late challenge on Sebastien Pocognoli – but went on to win 2-1 at Brighton.
Royals assistant manager Andries Ulderink said: “It is good to be unbeaten in seven games and we have momentum. It was the result we needed.”
Newcastle avenged their Championship defeat to Wolves at the weekend with a 2-0 win over the Black Country club at St James’ Park.
Matt Ritchie fired the hosts into a 29th-minute lead and Yoan Gouffran’s superb strike two minutes later effectively killed off the tie.
Wolves boss Walter Zenga was less than impressed with the goals his side conceded.
“We made a big gift in one minute and the game was over in that one minute because of our two mistakes in defensive situations,” he said. “When you make some gifts in this way, it’s difficult then to come back into the game.”
Leeds beat Blackburn 1-0 with a late goal from Chris Wood, while Preston striker Simon Makienok scored a hat-trick to send Premier League side Bournemouth crashing out 3-2 after extra time at Dean Court.