James McCarthy-inspired Everton deliver a chastening reality check to Manchester United
Everton's James McCarthy thinks the 3-0 win over Manchester United can help them put a frustrating season behind them as they move into next season.
The midfielder opened the scoring early on, before goals from John Stones and Kevin Mirallas sealed an emphatic victory and consigned Louis van Gaal to consecutive defeats for the first time in his Old Trafford career.
After the game, man-of-the-match McCarthy told Sky Sports: "Obviously it's been a frustrating campaign but we've put a few wins on the bounce now and we want to kick on and finish the season on a high, but we don't want to get carried away.
"We need to take a game at a time and try and go unbeaten until the end of the season."
Reflecting on his own performance, he added: "It's good to get a goal but the most important thing was to get the three points today."
Stones, who scored his first goal in Everton colours, said: "It's been a long time, I've had a lot of pressure off players and staff to get a goal so it's a special feeling for me and to keep a clean sheet and score three against Manchester United, it's a big day for us and keeps us on a run."
He added: "It's the big games you always look forward to. The best players bring the best out of you and I certainly enjoyed it today."
Roberto Martinez, who saw his side climb back into the top half of the table after a difficult start to the season, praised the character of his players after the win.
The Toffees boss said: "The players deserve huge credit because we were facing a very good side. Looking at the results they've been collecting, we had to be at our best and I truly felt that as a team, every individual was at a fantastic level with the personality we had, and the defensive concentration and intensity and how dynamic we were on the counter-attack.
"To keep Manchester United quiet in the manner that we did, and get a clean sheet, in every department we were very, very good and I'm just delighted because every single player in that dressing room has been working extremely hard and they deserve this victory."
He also singled out Stones, who succeeded in keeping Wayne Rooney and Radamel Falcao quiet as Everton recorded a third clean sheet in four games.
"Scoring is always a big moment," said Martinez.
"He's always mentioned about scoring at Goodison but I'd highlight the overall defensive performance that he had.
"We know how elegant and stylish he is in possession but I thought defensively he and Phil Jagielka were a phenomenal partnership."